Don’t Make Me Gag

Andrea Wulf wrote a brilliant and moving book called The Invention of Nature about the science of Alexander von Humboldt. I started to read it and could not stop. 


However, she had a few tics that a keen editor should have caught. She could not seem to place the word “only” in its proper place.


And she wrote this sentence, describing the difficult ascent of a high river valley by von Humboldt and his partner, Aimé Bonpland: 


“Bonpland was struggling with thin air–feeling nauseous and feverish.”


The word she’s looking for is “nauseated.” The word “nauseous” describes the substance that is the cause of nausea. Hence: “The filthy toilet was nauseous.” Or: “I was nauseated upon seeing how filthy the toilet was.” Or: “The sight of the dead man’s brains on the sidewalk made me nauseated.” 


The brains were nauseous. The narrator was nauseated. As was Bonpland.


For the use of “only” see the entry on “only.”