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November 17, 2015



Completely unrelated to your recipe, but I saw the word "snuck" today in a quite scholarly book, about a defamation trial (in context, someone "snuck" into a meeting), and I was startled. Should I give up the good fight on this one? And, in a similar vein, what is the modern editorial view on "comprise"? Again, do I need to retire my dueling pistols on that one? You're the pro; I'm askin' you.


“Snuck” has been around since the late 1800s and is now considered acceptable by most usage experts. It doesn’t bother me. Re “comprise,” I’m still fighting the good fight with you, but our days are numbered. I still proclaim “Not on my watch!” for “comprise” and “enormity” and “disinterested” and many others, but soon enough those words will come to mean just what so many people think they mean. We can sigh, but we must keep in mind that language evolves—no one says “thee” or “thou” anymore, although the first few who gave them up for “you" were probably looked at with scorn. I never miss a chance to trot out this wonderful Alexander Pope verse:

In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold;
Alike fantastic, if too new, or old;
Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Not yet the last to lay the old aside.

To wit: Don’t be the first OR the last one wearing bell-bottoms. Likewise, the first person to use the singular “they” was thought illiterate, but within our lifetimes will come the day when we will be thought old-fashioned if we have refused to adopt it.


Really? "Snuck" is acceptable? In formal writing? I am really surprised. But okay. I'll think about stopping griping (out loud).

And yeah, yeah, yeah. They'll pry a singular "they" out of me when the last trump sounds.


Merriam-Webster says:
From its earliest appearance in print in the late 19th century as a dialectal and probably uneducated form, the past and past participle snuck has risen to the status of standard and to approximate equality with sneaked. It is most common in the United States and Canada but has also been spotted in British and Australian English.

American Heritage says:
Snuck is an Americanism first introduced in the 1800s as a nonstandard regional variant of sneaked. Snuck probably arose in imitation of the pattern set by stick/stuck and strike/struck. Widespread use of snuck in the United States has become more common with every generation. It is now used by educated speakers in all regions and was acceptable to 75 percent of the Usage Panel in our 2008 survey. This stands in marked contrast to the 67 percent that disapproved of snuck twenty years earlier. The more traditional form sneaked, which predominates in British English, is fully acceptable as well, with 90 percent approving it in 2008.

Singular “they” has been around for a LONG time and only became frowned upon relatively recently, in linguistic terms. Wikipedia has a nice synopsis of the current thinking on singular “they,” with examples from lotsa good writers you’ve heard of, like Shakespeare and Austen:

Ben Zimmer, the keynote speaker at last spring’s ACES conference, said this about singular “they”:

Anyhoooo, it’s going to happen because of the growing awareness of a need to refer to people without having to resort to defining—or knowing, or caring about—their gender.

Steve Miller

Back on the topic of Mac-N-Cheese: yum.


It was REALLY yummy, and extra-filling, despite the fact that there was no white sauce or other fillers. And simple to throw together. I ate leftovers cold with my fingers.

Carole from Carole's Chatter

I would have thought the mixture might escape over the side of the baking sheet - shame about the cayenne - love me some spice. Cheers from Carole's Chatter!


When baking macaroni and cheese, I almost always worry about the bottom browning too darkly.


It's a big gloppy mixture, so no chance of escape! It’s also a rimmed baking sheet (like a jelly roll pan).

I just picked up some more cayenne today! I should’ve put in some smoked paprika instead.


Recipe pinned for this week's cooking. As a non-native speaker, I was also interested and intrigued by the evolution of English!

Beth F

Ha, ha. Got distracted by the editing discussion ... I have a few that I will never let go, but snuck? I'm starting to give up.

I love this idea for mac and cheese. Looks easy and love the ratio of crunch to creamy. Must try this one soon

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