Results 1 to 5 of 5

    • Join Date: Sep 2006
    • Posts: 7
    #1

    on tenderhooks

    Hello there!
    This is the word I learnt in England years ago but have never heard nor seen in my life in Japan. Plus most dictionaries do NOT even have that word itself, I haven't got the hang of use.

    Is the word "tenderhooks" used both in positive and negative expectations?
    And does it always appear in plural form, never be a singular?

    Hope someone out there help me out there!


    • Join Date: Sep 2006
    • Posts: 150
    #2

    Re: on tenderhooks

    The word is tenterhooks, with a "t".

    If you say "I'm on tenterhooks", it means "I'm in a state of anxious suspense." Or "waiting impatiently and excitedly".

    You could use it when you are listening to an exciting story, and you want to know what will happen next; or watching a penalty shoot-out at the end of a football game; or waiting for news about something important.

    The cause of the anxiety does not have to be a negative expectation, but often it is.

    The word is always used in the plural form. Here's an explanation of the origin of the term, and some examples of use.

    http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/inde...?date=19990113


    • Join Date: Sep 2006
    • Posts: 7
    #3

    Re: on tenderhooks

    Goodness! Was that tenterhooks!? No wonder I couldn't find it in dictionaries.
    Thank you boothling! The link you put was helpful and useful, now it's much clearer!

    Actually I googled "on tenderhooks" and found some articles and blogs written by English speakers (or so I thought) with spelling "tenderhooks". To me, those usage seem exactly the same as "tenterhooks", am I right in saying either spellings work properly and commonly accepted?
    I jotted down this expression when I saw a qualified and experienced British English teacher spelled "tenderhooks", so I'm a bit sceptical to say that was only a misspelling.


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 671
    #4

    Re: on tenderhooks

    Quote Originally Posted by fussychick View Post
    Goodness! Was that tenterhooks!? No wonder I couldn't find it in dictionaries.
    Thank you boothling! The link you put was helpful and useful, now it's much clearer!
    Actually I googled "on tenderhooks" and found some articles and blogs written by English speakers (or so I thought) with spelling "tenderhooks". To me, those usage seem exactly the same as "tenterhooks", am I right in saying either spellings work properly and commonly accepted?
    I jotted down this expression when I saw a qualified and experienced British English teacher spelled "tenderhooks", so I'm a bit sceptical to say that was only a misspelling.
    No, fussychick, there is no such word as 'tenderhooks' - Boothling is correct. If a native English speaker writes it that way, it's simply because they are remembering how they heard the word in speech. It is common when speaking English quickly to add voicing to an unvoiced consonant that follows another consonant - hence 't' becomes 'd'. In this case, the mistake is even more likely because 'tender' is a common word, whereas 'tenter' is an uncommon one. It just proves that even experienced teachers make mistakes .


    • Join Date: Sep 2006
    • Posts: 7
    #5

    Re: on tenderhooks

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    It is common when speaking English quickly to add voicing to an unvoiced consonant that follows another consonant - hence 't' becomes 'd'. In this case, the mistake is even more likely because 'tender' is a common word, whereas 'tenter' is an uncommon one.
    Yes, that's convincing, thank you Coffa! Now that I found out it should be "tenterhooks" and that gives me a vivid picture what it is, "tenderhooks" sounds baffling

    This was something playing in my mind for long, thank you for clearing that up for me!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •