Reckless vs. Wreckless
When Max is distracted or in a hurry, he becomes a wreckless driver.
Although driving while distracted may result in a wreck, the correct adjective in the “driving” sentence above is reckless. The error is understandable, though, considering that wrecks are so often the result of recklessness; however, the root words are different.
The Old English word reck means care or caution, and, of course, the suffix -less signifies without. When people act without reck (or caution), they are reckless.
Wreck, on the other hand, means broken or ruined; when associated with automobiles, it refers to a collision. Considering the meaning of the -less suffix, the term wreckless makes no sense—people who are not cautious would wreck more, not less. As a matter of fact, wrecklessness would be a good thing. However, since wreckless isn’t even a word, any discussion of its use is point-less.
Check out more writing tips below…
Search Tips by Topic
- Capitalization: Eponyms
- Comma – Restrictive/Nonrestrictive
- Compare to/with
- Could care less
- Daylight saving time
- Due to
- Every Day/Everyday
- Guess what/I wonder
- Hear hear
- Home/Hone in on
- I wonder/Guess what
Professional Style Monthly Subscription
Sign up to get Professional Style delivered straight to your inbox every month. It’s FREE, and you can’t beat FREE!