I Am Now Somewhat Chagrined By the Use of “Somewhat Of”

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

A couple of days ago, after seeing it in an LA Times story, I wrote that the use of the phrase “somewhat of” was Just. Plain. Wrong. The head of the Times copy desks saw my post and tweeted, “I share your preference, old friend, but I have four dictionaries that accept ‘somewhat of.’ No error and not lash-worthy, I say.”

Oh yeah? What dictionaries are those? Webster’s New World Dictionary, he says. Um, really? That’s sort of embarrassing since it’s the dictionary I normally use too. In fact, my copy is about two feet from my left hand. And sure enough, there it is: “often followed by of.”

Later he added, “When given two valid options, I counsel going with the writer’s choice.” As a writer, I heartily endorse this attitude from copy editors, and obviously there are indeed two valid options here. I’m going to stick with “something of” myself, but no more lashes for anyone who disagrees.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate