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27 Feb 2020

How Effectual Is That?

My latest reading is a collection of essays by Mollie Panter-Downes, written from London for the New Yorker during the Second World War. She uses the word effectually, really surprisingly often, to mean what most of us would mean by effectively these days – i.e. more or less, to all practical purposes. It makes me wonder when effectively became the commoner of the two, and if it caused the sort of outcry that I still raise at the misuse of literally, as in ‘I literally died laughing when I heard the news.’

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