Make Your Editor Cry: Ado vs. Adieu

Make Your Editor Cry:  Ado vs. Adieu

Adieu is a French word meaning “goodbye” that is commonly used in English, especially in the phrase “I bid you adieu!” Au revoir is also French for goodbye, but that’s more of a casual “see ya later” while adieu is more like “farewell forever.” Adieu comes from “a dieu” which means “to God.” I find this really interesting because the English “goodbye” is basically an evolved acronym for “God be with ye.”

You say adieu to someone if you think it’s the last time you’ll see her alive, or even if it just seems that way. You can also bid a thing adieu, like your house that just burned down.

Someone who makes a lot of ado about things has a tendency to make them more busy or complicated than they need to be. Shakespeare wrote Much Ado About Nothing, and that’s still the way you’ll often hear the word. It’s usually found in that phrase or “without further ado.” An ado is an unnecessary “to-do” or fuss or pomp.

Here’s a trick. Ado is like “to-do,” and adieu is a dramatic perhaps final farewell, what you might say to someone if they’re about to die. See the word “die” in adieu and the word” do” as in “to-do” in ado?

Examples:

Incorrect:

Please get to the point without further adieu.

He bid her ado and left without another word.

Correct:

Please get to the point without further ado.

He bid her adieu and left without another word.

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