Style matters #2: Slicing the ‘e’ off swathe


While working as a sub-editor, an erudite colleague once pointed out to me that while we say – and more often write – the word swathe (which rhymes with lathe) as a noun, it is properly used only as a verb.

Furthermore, its noun form is swath (which rhymes with cloth) … tell that to newsreaders on radio and television or the average punter!

A little dictionary checking proved that my articulate colleague was pretty much spot on, with the tiny – and rare – exception that the only noun form for swathe refers to “a wrapping or bandage”.

Should you still doubt this revelation, Grammarist has an excellent, simple explanation to assuage your concerns.


If you like what you’ve read here, you can see reporting4work’s similar posts at Style Matters

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