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  • Richard Farr

Two and a half “kudos” for language pedantry?

It’s spreading like rot, and there it is yet again, in this morning’s Seattle Times: a sports journalist praising one man but then speaking of the need to “save a few kudos for” another.

What manner of thing does he think a “kudo” is? And how many kudo / kudoses / kudi / kudos did he just gave to the first person?

This is a hot button of mine – and yet I’m on thin ice. (And don’t talk to me about mixed metaphors until this morning’s gift horse has flown under the bridge.) I just heard Stephen Fry’s lovely (and oh, so beautifully-spoken) jeremiad against language pedantry, and I agree with him wholeheartedly. I also remember with a certain glee that my mother used to go on and on (and on) about split infinitives being the end of civilization, until I pointed out to her that her own language Bible, Fowler’s Modern English Usage, disagreed with her about it. But, but …

This is very simple. KUDOS is a Greek word. It’s pronounced CUE-doss. And, since it’s an uncountable noun meaning “honor” or “glory,” there simply is no such thing as either a ‘kudo’ or a collection of them.


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