• Spell check may have no problem with acquaintanceship, but the word in superfluous. The older and shorter (and easier to spell) acquaintance covers all acquaintanceship’s conceivable territory. The suffix -ship adds nothing.




    Acquaintanceship could be shortened to acquaintance in each of these examples:

    Sanford said the most significant influence on his life was his acquaintanceship with men in the factory. [Schenectady Gazette]

    No marriage is required to accomplish this, not even an acquaintanceship or personal meeting. [Nigerian Observer]

    Depending on their level of acquaintanceship with the army, some may pay lower rent. [Newsline]

    Two men who met in a drug treatment program continue their acquaintanceship in jail, authorities say. [WSOC Charlotte]


    1. I do see a slight difference in connotation between ‘acquaintance’ and ‘acquaintanceship’ in some of those cases – the latter implies that it’s mutually acknowledged, where the former doesn’t. It’s particularly obvious in the army/rent case – is it implying that people who are particularly aware of the army’s policies will be able to use that knowledge to find opportunities to pay lower rent, or is it implying that there’s favoritism even to people who are only loosely associated with the army?

    2. “… but the word IS superfluous.”

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