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I read with interest the comments by Joseph Gross, MD, on the use of the suffix -al, as well as the editor's response (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1997;151: 430). A few years ago a colleague and I had the unfortunate experience of a copy editor adding -al every time a word ending in -ic appeared in material we had submitted. Our prose was modified with such choice embellishments as epidemical, endemical, antibiotical, genetical, and the like. Our insistence on change was futile until we sent a letter replete with such words as pediatrical and expressing how terrifical and ecstatical we felt about the pending publication of our material. The senior editor saw the point and finally ruled in our favor.
Mortimer EA. Suffix -al Revisited. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(9):965. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170460103031