Guilford College Writing Manual

This is the official Guilford College Writing Manual. A collaboration between the English Department and the Hege Library.

Two Zones of the Word Stock

One fundamental choice you have involves whether to write in the Anglo-Saxon zone or the Mediterranean (Greek & Latin roots) zone.

Take a look at this pair of lists:

optimum

however

purchase

position

attempt

finalize

request

utilize

initiate

perform

fabricate

best

but

buy

job

try

end

ask

use

start

do

make

The words in the left-hand column come from the Mediterranean diction zone. This part of the English word stock consists of words that have entered the language either from Latin or Greek directly or from Latin by way of French.

The words in the right-hand column tend to come from Anglo-Saxon, a Germanic language that provided the foundation of modern English.

The simultaneous existence of the two lists—Mediterranean and Anglo-Saxon—brings to English somewhat of a split personality, one which has an important sociological dimension.