The Grammarphobia Blog

Anti accidents

Q: I’m a cranky old grammar and pronunciation lover who has just finished reading your entire blog. Whew! Now, I’d like to ask you about the proliferation of the long “i.” It finally went beyond tolerance for me when I heard a newscaster talking about ant-eye-freeze. Next, will it be hem-eye-sphere? What’s wrong with the good old short “i”?

A: I haven’t heard this proliferation of the long “i” that you’ve noticed, but I’m going to keep my ears open for it!

As an aside, I should mention that Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) gives both ANT-eye and ANT-ee as correct pronunciations for “anti” before vowels, but ANT-ih (with the second vowel as in “hit”) before a consonant.

So the newscaster should have said ANT-ih-freez.

Buy Pat’s books at a local store or Amazon.com.