General Writing and Grammar Help/suffix, I think

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Question
What is it called when you add a few letters to the end of a word without adding additional meaning?  An example would be "amongst", which, as far as I can tell, no different than "among."

Answer
John,

Since the meaning is not changed, other than “variant”, I don’t know of a specific term.  

Supposedly the adding of “st” to words like among and while was a pronunciation thing to make speaking more euphonious.  It may also be related to the Germanic roots of the language since such a construction is common in German.

However, I must say you have stepped on one of my pet grammatical peeves . . . “different than.”  While “different than” is currently accepted as ”correct” English by the great unwashed, it has not always been thus.  Since “than” is a comparative term, and things that are different cannot be compared, the MORE correct form is to say “different from.”

A plate is bigger than a cup.  (both have size. . . compare size . . . bigger than)
A plate is different than a cup. (what is being compared? Nothing.).  A plate is different from a cup. (A plate is one thing.  A cup is another.)  They are different from each other.

Jerry Leone

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Jerry Leone

Expertise

I`ve taught writing or some aspect of the English language for nearly 35 years. I can answer nearly any question on grammar, usage or meanings of words above dictionary usage. An avid crossword fan and writer, I can also answer questions about business presentations and resumes.

Experience

I have worked with words all my life as a teacher of the language and as an amateur and professional writer. Communication is a vital force in my life and everyone else's.

Organizations
Sigma Delta Chi, NY Press Association, NY Publishers Association

Education/Credentials
BA in English from the University of Buffalo, MEd in English from SUNY Buffalo, MA in English Literature from SUNY Buffalo. Course work in Journalism from Syracuse Univ., in Linguistics from Rutgers Univ. and Journalism from Univ. of Texas and Ohio Univesrity.

Awards and Honors
Chancellor's Award for Excellence Teaching SUNY, Distinguished Teaching Award SUNY Morrisville, Who's Who in American Journalism Education

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