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-wise suffix

English translation: better to avoid it altogether and use "in terms of" or adverbs instead

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:-wise suffix
English translation:better to avoid it altogether and use "in terms of" or adverbs instead
Entered by: María Teresa Taylor Oliver
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20:01 Nov 30, 2004
English to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Linguistics
English term or phrase: -wise suffix
Is there a proper rule to use the -wise suffix?

Must it be hyphenated, or not...?

Is it, for instance, "financialwise", "financial-wise", or "financial wise"?

I don't trust Microsoft Word's spell & grammar checker. It keeps telling me it's "financial wise", but I want to be sure.

Thanks!!

I don't know how to give you more context, as I'm translating a text from Spanish into English...
María Teresa Taylor Oliver
Panama
Local time: 02:59
abomination
Explanation:
Financialwise, etc. is terrible English perpetrated by native speakers, especially in the US. Much better: in terms of finances, etc.

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Note added at 3 mins (2004-11-30 20:04:28 GMT)
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The suffix -wise forms adverbs when it attaches to adjectives or nouns. It comes from an Old English suffix -wise, which meant “in a particular direction or manner.” Thus clockwise means “in the direction that a clock goes,” and likewise means “in like manner, similarly.” For the last fifty years or so, -wise has also meant “with respect to,” as in saleswise, meaning “with respect to sales,” and taxwise, meaning “with respect to taxes.” Many people consider this usage awkward, however, and you may want to avoid it, especially in formal settings.
http://www.bartleby.com/64/C008/057.html
Selected response from:

Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 02:59
Grading comment
Thanks, everyone, for your very WISE answers ;) What an interesting debate. I love it that I get to learn more each day, thanks to all of you.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +11abomination
Kim Metzger
4 +8unwise suffix
Richard Benham
3 +8cannot be applied anytime one desiresRHELLER


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


1 min   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +11
abomination


Explanation:
Financialwise, etc. is terrible English perpetrated by native speakers, especially in the US. Much better: in terms of finances, etc.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 mins (2004-11-30 20:04:28 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The suffix -wise forms adverbs when it attaches to adjectives or nouns. It comes from an Old English suffix -wise, which meant “in a particular direction or manner.” Thus clockwise means “in the direction that a clock goes,” and likewise means “in like manner, similarly.” For the last fifty years or so, -wise has also meant “with respect to,” as in saleswise, meaning “with respect to sales,” and taxwise, meaning “with respect to taxes.” Many people consider this usage awkward, however, and you may want to avoid it, especially in formal settings.
http://www.bartleby.com/64/C008/057.html


Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 02:59
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 187
Grading comment
Thanks, everyone, for your very WISE answers ;) What an interesting debate. I love it that I get to learn more each day, thanks to all of you.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Will Matter: the proper form is "financial-wise" but agree with Kim that it's an abomination. I would NEVER use this phrase in a professional context whether in a document or when speaking. Use "financially" or Kims suggestion.
3 mins
  -> I thought the disease had died long ago. I don't come across it much anymore.

agree  Richard Benham: Conceptwise, I agree with you. Specific case wise, I can't see why not to use "financially".
5 mins

agree  Alaa Zeineldine
5 mins

agree  John Bowden: Was particularly fashionable in the 60s & 70s, when people thought it made them sound "cutting edge" - I remeber my optician telling me that "contact lens prescription-wise your eyes will change from the age of 40 onwards..." - ugh!
11 mins

agree  jccantrell
25 mins

agree  ntext: Cf. "The Apartment" ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053604/ ): "Movie-wise, there has never been anything like it - laugh-wise, love-wise, or otherwise-wise!"
27 mins

agree  Klaus Herrmann: Very similar to the (ab)use of -mäßig in German
37 mins

agree  Derek Gill Franßen
1 hr

disagree  Peter Linton: At the risk of getting shouted down by all you stuffy old grammarians, I think it is a useful and sensible enhancement to the language - crisp, meaningful, of ancient origin, and sounds OK, once we get used to it. I like -wise. Who else agrees with me?
3 hrs

agree  Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.
4 hrs

agree  Lisa Lloyd
13 hrs

agree  Java Cafe
17 hrs

agree  Jörgen Slet: "Financialwise" is ugly, but in some cases I do agree with Peter :)
2 days17 hrs

agree  Deborah Workman: I've never heard of "financialwise" though I have heard of "finances-wise". Abominations all, though I agree with Peter that some such abominations are handy.
2 days17 hrs

disagree  nordicskiwidow: I agree with you Peter. I also agree that 'financialwise' is horrible, but because 'financial' is an adjective, not a noun. Grammar-wise it's fine, but make sure you use it with a noun. Usage-wise, stick to less formal situations.
1884 days
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3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +8
cannot be applied anytime one desires


Explanation:
I do not believe this is a word.
Of course, one can make up new words.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 mins (2004-11-30 20:05:14 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

how about \"financially speaking\"
related to finance
with respect to finance
finance-related

RHELLER
United States
Local time: 01:59
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 59

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Richard Benham: I'd rather see "any time", but I agree with the sentiment.
1 min
  -> thanks Richard :-))))

agree  Alaa Zeineldine
4 mins
  -> thanks Alaa!

agree  Will Matter: it IS used but it's both poor English and bad grammar. Alternate choice of vocabulary cannot be recommended too highly.
5 mins
  -> the prof has spoken!

agree  Derek Gill Franßen
1 hr

agree  Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.
4 hrs

agree  Pawel Gromek
10 hrs

agree  humbird
19 hrs

agree  Jörgen Slet
2 days17 hrs
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16 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +8
unwise suffix


Explanation:
I agree with the previous two answerers, Kim and Rita. Microsoft Word is not very bright; when it sees "financialwise", it recognizes that this "word" is not in its dictionary, but that "financial" and "wise" are. This does not mean that the authors of the spelling and grammar checker think that "I'm doing pretty well financial wise" is any better than "I'm doing pretty well financialwise"; it's just that the program is not smart enough to pick the latter abomination.

"Financially" works fine in this case. "Wise" used to be a noun meaning "manner"; so that you could say "I am in no wise able to help you". This is now archaic, of course.

I think the wisest thing to do is to avoid neologisms in "-wise"; that is, only use well-established words with the suffix, such as "clockwise", "otherwise", etc. Made-up words in "-wise" have no place in even semi-formal English. There are some rare exceptions, but it's safer to avoid them altogether.

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 09:59
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 64

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  RHELLER: agree with those "down under" :-))
13 mins
  -> Thanks.

agree  Kim Metzger: In a way, the spelling issue should be irrelevant. You might find them spelled with or without a hyphen, but the best advice is not to use them unless they are standard compounds - lengthwise, penny-wise.
15 mins
  -> Of course, in penny-wise (as in "penny-wise and pound-foolish"), it's not the suffix but the adjective. But I take your point. Suggestion: if in doubt, type the word, unhyphenated, into Word; if it accepts it, it's probably an established word.

agree  Derek Gill Franßen: Yes, the term "financially" works most often and sounds better (IMHO).
1 hr
  -> Thanks.

agree  Will Matter: grammar-wise, your use of "unwise" to explain that other choices are possible and desirable (English-wise) is, IMHO, very wise, indeed. :)
1 hr
  -> Who'd have thought otherwise...?

agree  Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.
4 hrs
  -> Thanks.

agree  Refugio: Likewise, I'm sure.
13 hrs

agree  Lisa Lloyd
13 hrs

agree  Jörgen Slet
2 days17 hrs

neutral  bj cunningham: Agree with style preference; however, my work is legal &/or medical and must be verbatim. So when someone says something like "How far was it distancewise?" That's what must be used. :(
1420 days
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Changes made by editors
Apr 22, 2005 - Changes made by Kim Metzger:
FieldOther » Social Sciences


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