Friday, October 24, 2014

oeuvre: The Weekend Edition—Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Friday–Sunday, October 24–26, 2014

In French oeuvre means “work” in many different ways. In English we use the word only in the specialized sense “the body of work produced by an individual creator.” Unfortunately, “oeuvre” begins with a vowel sound we don’t have in English and ends in a French R that also does not correspond to any English sound. The result is often grotesque mispronunciations like “oove.” It’s better to avoid foreign words like this if you haven’t mastered the accent. “Body of work” or “output” will do fine.

The Week's End Extra from the Archives: "Sure it's no good, but is it non-grammatical?" (February 22, 2013).

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