View Full Version : "Remiss" or "Remiss not" (usage/grammar question)
08-04-2009, 05:01 PM
When using the word remiss to denote a failure of action, is one remiss in the obligation or is one remiss in not having performed the obligation.
e.g. I was supposed to go to the grocery store today but did not get around to it:
I was remiss going to the grocery store
I was remiss in not going to the grocery store
Which is the proper usage?
A Man A Plan A Canal
08-04-2009, 05:04 PM
I think these mean two different things.
If you went to the store, but shouldn't have done so, then it's "I was remiss going to the grocery store."
If you didn't go, but should have done so, then it's "I was remiss in not gong to the grocery store."
I think of remiss as akin to mistaken.
But then...what do I know? That's just my ear.
08-04-2009, 05:13 PM
"Remiss" means "negligent." So "was remiss" does not substitute for the phrase "failed in" X, as in your first example.
The correct usage would be
I was remiss in not going to the grocery store.
08-04-2009, 06:43 PM
If you had just gone to the grocery store as you were supposed to, you wouldn't be having this problem.
08-05-2009, 06:42 AM
If you were supposed to do something but didn't, you would say you were remiss in not doing it.
If you were not supposed to do something but you did, you would say you were remiss in doing it.
So the answer to your original question is affected by the context. In my experience, the word is most commonly used the first way, indicating negligence in not having done something you were supposed to do.
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