A blog about grammar and the joys of knowing stuff
My mom was, and still is, instrumental in fostering my love for language, words, and grammar. So in honor of her on Mother’s Day, here is a little grammar tidbit she told me about recently:
Instantly vs. Instantaneous
My mom was reading a book and came across a sentence where the author described something happening “instantaneously”, which is technically not correct. Now, this is a finer point of grammar and using this word does not compromise meaning; your readers will know what you mean. However, if you just like to know things like I do, you may find this interesting:
For the root word “instant”, the adverb is actually “instantly”. The adjective is “instantaneous”. So something happens instantly. When it does, it is instantaneous.
The noun is instantaneity, though I don’t think I’ve ever heard this used. Honestly, if I ever did I would probably think the author was being pretentious, or British.
If you want another interesting nugget, the word derives from Medieval Latin, according to Dictionary.com (A favorite site of mine that is worth poking around!)
So Happy Mother’s Day, Nuggets! I hope you enjoy!