Monday, August 9, 2010


I went to company headquarters for my new company for orientation today.  Does that mean I got orientated?  No, I got oriented -- for some reason we add an extra -at- to the root word in this case.  Admittedly, "oriention" would sound weird; is that the only reason?

I am adopted, and when I was young I used to speak of the "adoptiation agency."  For some reason, it didn't occur to me that I could have said simply "adoption agency"; but why do we add -at- to orient but not adopt?  (Okay, I threw in -iat-, and, again, "adoptation" would not sound nearly as good.)

Another word that adds -at- is preventative.  At the oriention this morning, I noticed they used the word "preventive" to describe certain kinds of health care that we employees are eligible for, so I thought maybe preventative was just incorrect, along the lines of adoptiation.  But, no, it appears to be a legitimate alternative, sometimes with a slightly different meaning (preventative is a noun describing a procedure in preventive medicine), but sometimes with the identical meaning.

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