Sick about it

I ran across a quote that used the word “nauseous,” as in “Even the thought of broccoli makes me nauseous.” Most usage experts say that the speaker should have said “nauseated.” “Nauseous” is an adjective that describes something that makes you sick to your stomach. “Nauseated” is the word to describe being sick. However, some observers of the language say that usage has changed and “nauseous” is a perfectly good word to describe being sick enough to lose your lunch. I don’t hold with that group.

Here is the American Heritage Book of English Usage discussion of “nauseous” and “nauseated.” In Worldwide Words, the author examines the history of the usage, citing two New York boroughs as the possible birthplace for “nauseous” to describe that sickening feeling.

Keywords: grammar guide, language, writing

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.