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Delete vs. Erase

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Trevor in Austin, Texas, notes that when his young son was talking about drawing a cat, but erasing part of it, the boy used the term deleting rather than erasing. Should he correct his son, or is this a natural evolution of language in the digital age? In 1490, publisher William Caxton told the story of two people from different parts of England discussing a transaction involving eggs. There was some initial confusion when the one from the north of English used the term eggs, from Old Norse, while the other from the south used eyren, from Old English. After these terms coexisted and competed for a while, the term eggs won out. Perhaps in the same way, erase and delete will coexist for years before one becomes obsolete. This is part of a complete episode.

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