Prepend? If it's not in the dictionary, just say no!

Subject: Prepend? If it's not in the dictionary, just say no!
From: Geoff Hart <Geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 13:37:13 -0400

Steven Ward observes that <<I can't find 'prepend' as a word,
yet I've seen it used in several documents to indicate adding
something to the beginning of something else (vs. append
attaching something to the end of something else)>>

As a rule of thumb, if you can't find a certain word in a
common, low-end dictionary, I recommend avoiding the
word because any of your readers who doesn't already know
the word won't be able to find the word and figure out what it
means. (The obvious exception to this rule is jargon words
that are used extensively in a specific field; the rule of thumb
then becomes to own a dictionary of terms used in that field
and use _that_ as your standard. Prepend doesn't pass the test
by either rule of thumb.) BTW, the reason I say "low end"
dictionary is because outside the writing and editing
community, most people don't have access to the kind of
word tools we word geeks keep handy.

"Prepend" seems to be well-formed linguistically, but I simply
haven't seen it often enough to consider it to be good usage.
Nor does it fill a gap in the English language and thus justify
its existence based on "filling a need"; "prefix" is the verb
you're looking for, and since it's in my small Webster's
dictionary, that suggests it's a good choice. FWIW, "preface"
isn't correct, because it doesn't imply making one word from
two.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"If pro is opposite of con, then what is the opposite of progress?"--Anon.


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