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Rosie Right 

Our language and how it works.

Borrowed and Blue

Do you loan something to someone? Or do you lend it? If you have already made the decision, have you loaned or lent your pen?

This seems to trouble a lot of us who want to use words correctly, and in almost any usage book, you can find a discussion of this dilemma.

Reader Micki Warren has called to ask which word is correct. That is not easy or maybe even possible, but Theodore Bernstein, in his book "The Careful Writer," puts it succinctly:

"Dictionaries and most other authorities sanction loan as a verb in American usage. Yet probably because a British influence has been at work, most writers who observe the niceties seem to prefer lend, although some accept loan in financial contexts … and in art contexts. … If your ear is not offended by 'Loan me your pen' or by 'Friends, Romans, countrymen, loan me your ears,' the authorities are right so far as you are concerned. The rest of us will continue to prefer lend, though we recognize that loan has a basis in both history and usage."

Ms. Warren's other question was whether one should spell canceled with one or two. During bad weather she has seen it spelled both ways on reports of closings. There is an easy answer to this one.

The dictionary that the Associated Press recommends (Webster's New World College Dictionary Fourth Edition) spells it first with one l and next with two. This means that we here at Style will follow the first recommendation — one l.

The double l is clearly the English spelling. The Oxford English Dictionary gives no examples of "canceled," but if you look up "cancelled," you will find examples of its use beginning in the 16th century.

Oh No!

In a Feb. 21 New York Times column by Peter Funt, host of "Candid Camera," we are told that Hillary Clinton tries as often as she can to use the name Hillary without the Clinton: "Is it because she doesn't wish to draw attention to her marriage to the former president? … More likely it's because she knows that she's the only candidate whose name lends itself to Oprahization."

I, for one, am not nominating "Oprah-ization" for the word of 2007. S

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