Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Dec 21 2009   10:45PM GMT

Is that option pre-installed?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?

You may be able to restore your computer to a previous, functional status if it came with a recovery utility _________.
a. pre-installed
b. installed

Answer: b.

Pre-installed is used to describe things that are installed on a system before you buy it but — really — what’s the difference between a system that comes with Windows 7 installed and one that comes with it pre-installed? I maintain that pre-installed is not a useful word and should just go away.

And when it leaves, it can take pre-prepare with it. Paul Yeager writes about pre-prepare on the Everything Language and Grammar Blog:

“Prepare means to get something ready in advance, so pre-prepare must mean to get something ready before you get it ready in advance.”

I’m lucky if I’m ever prepared — there’s just no way I’m going to be pre-prepared. And should I ever feel the need to pre-prepare for something I’ll freely admit to being preparanoid. Now there’s a useful word. My son coined it a few years ago to describe those of us who get bent out of shape preparing for every remote potentiality.

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