The fol­low­ing is a read­er sub­mis­sion.

The argu­ment is whether dwin­dle makes sense on the fol­low­ing sen­tence:

Mrs. Jones, please dwin­dle down the invi­ta­tion list.

Both sides of the argu­ment agree that dwin­dle makes sense in the fol­low­ing sen­tence:

His finances dwin­dled down due to his over­spend­ing.

We aren’t look­ing for what sounds best, but whether it is gram­mat­i­cal­ly cor­rect. Please offer an expla­na­tion along with your answer.

This has become a major office debate, please help.



Hi Christi­na,

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, you’re on the wrong side of the debate. Both usages are cor­rect. :)

I con­sult­ed five dic­tio­nar­ies, and they all say the verb “to dwin­dle” can actu­al­ly be both tran­si­tive (i.e. Dwin­dle the invi­ta­tion list) and intran­si­tive (i.e. His finances dwin­dled).

I should point out that accom­pa­ny­ing “dwin­dle” with “down” is redun­dant since “dwin­dle’ means a reduc­tion, which “down” implies.

I hope that helps, and sor­ry it wasn’t in your favour.


Email me your gram­mar ques­tions. I’ll be sure to post the ques­tion and answer here.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing and social media tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness. Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

Free monthlywriting &social media tips!

Free monthlywriting &social media tips!

Sign up to receive monthly writing and social media tips.

Thanks for signing up for our monthly writing tips!

Pin It on Pinterest