Writing for Business

Dec 30 2009   6:47PM GMT

Nevermind or never mind?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Travelers at Pearson were told to expect eight-hour waits for U.S. customs alone, _________ subsequent security checks.
a. never mind
b. nevermind

Answer: a.

Explanation: In this context, never mind means not to mention.

Until today, I would have said that nevermind was not a word. However, I see that it’s listed as an archaic form synonymous with attention, as in “Pay me no nevermind.” Which sounds like a double negative but isn’t really, I guess, unless you make it “Don’t pay me no nevermind.”

I’m a sucker for these archaic forms. Nevermind still seems to exist in isolated rural areas where you still hear remnants of Elizabethan English, as would have been spoken when people first settled. Appalachia is one such area in the US. Here in Canada, you hear echoes in Newfoundland outports. I still remember, a few years back, the thrill of having a man ask us in Twillingate, “Have ye come from town this day?”

This manner of speech is disappearing, of course, as television and the Net pervade even the most remote areas and we all sound more and more alike. Mayhap we might found a Society for the Preservation of Anachronistic Language?

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  • Cchap
    Just wanted to say, I love your blog. You answer questions that I so often have, but quickly forget about until I run into them again. I also enjoy the extra information and history you provide. Happy New Year! *** Bless you! What a nice comment to cap the year's posts. Happy New Year to you! Ivy
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