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The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

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The Vine: September 12, 2012

Submitted by on September 12, 2012 – 2:11 PM11 Comments

Microsoft Word's spell-check feature continues in its quest to drive me bananas, and turning to Dr. Google for an answer confused me even more. So obviously I've turned to you.

"Assumably." Is it a word? Microsoft says no and wants me to change it to "assumedly." Merriam-Webster says "assumably" IS a word, the adverb form of assume, and then goes on to say that "assumedly" is NOT a word (and, perplexingly, asks if I meant to type "somedeal," a word I think everyone should try to bring back into use). A quick Google search seems to imply that both words should be replaced with "presumably," but then "presumedly" gets added into the mix just for confusion's sake. Grammar Girl doesn't address it all, and I don't own a copy of the Garner (I know, I know, I should just pony up the $10.54 Amazon wants for a used copy. This might inspire me to do it).

I took the easy route and switched to "presumably" in the document I was writing, but now it's driving me crazy. Your thoughts on this incredibly important issue would be appreciated.

Signed,
Making an ass out of me (but not you)

Dear Ass,

(Hee.) "Assumably" just looks wrong to me, probably because I'm tarring it with the same brush of wrong as "supposably." For the record, I've got the red squiggly line under "assumably," "somedeal," and "presumedly" — although what does MS Word know, really.

This Aron guy authoritatively states that the adjective is "assumable," while the adverb is "assumedly," but I don't get that. Why not both, or neither?

Garner agrees — and rules for "neither." The entry isn't about that specific pair, but in the course of differentiating between "assumption" and "presumption," Garner is definitive on the adverb question: "As for adverbs, always use the common forms derived from presume — that is, presumable (= I presume, it is to be presumed) or presumptively (= there is a presumption that). Stay away from assumedly and assumptively."

I assume (…snick) that that also includes "assumably."

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