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I’m not going to beat around the bush on this one. Is nother a word? The answer is YES!

Nevertheless, I was surprised to see it in a novel I was recently reading.

I have long thought that nother should be a word. I use it in speech regularly.

Instead of saying “a whole other,” I tend to say “a whole nother,” as if splitting the word another into two.

This, of course, as dictionaries (which invariably include the word) often point out, is a misdivision of another. Another means “an other,” the “n” being present because the article “a/an” takes an “n” when it is followed by a word starting with a vowel sound—like “other.” If you put a word like “whole” in there, the article “a/an” is no longer followed by a vowel sound, and should thus be “a,” not “an.” And the “n” should definitely not get attached to a different word entirely!

And yet. I like the word nother. I say it all the time. I’m glad it’s a word. And thank you to Colson Whitehead for including it in his recent book Harlem Shuffle. Here’s what he wrote:

“. . . that was a whole nother story . . .”

Oh yeah. That’s how it’s done.

Is nother a word? Absolutely. Feel free to use it anywhere.

(Except in formal writing and speech. It might be out of place there.)

Do you use the word nother?

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