I’ve been undercover too long to keep up this ruse any longer. Today I come clean, out of the shadows, to expose my real identity.
And you thought I was Leah Rubin, mild-mannered blogger, wife, mother and grandmother, keeper of the family archives and some-time tap dancer. Harumph, I say. That is my cover, not unlike the Clark Kent persona employed by Superman.
My superpower is not one widely known. I am, after sweeping into a coat closet (go find a phone booth these days!) transformed into Battle-Scarred Grammatica!
So because I cannot see a misspelled or misused word without cringing, biting my lip, or bursting out with some manner of stringed-together expletives, I have saved a few from recent days to share with you. Perhaps by venting my spleen herein, I can avoid an aneurysm.
Now people misuse words all the time, and in everyday speech I probably do, too. I have no more desire to sound like a stilted, repressed philosophy professor than I do to mud wrestle a kangaroo. But that’s not important right now.
So I’m mostly inclined to point out these errors of syntax or grammar when used by a professional in a setting that afforded him or her the opportunity to get it right.
For example, on the PBS Newshour Tuesday evening, the financial correspondent, Paul Solman mentioned “loaning the money”. See the problem? Loan is a noun, not a verb. Sure, lots of people do this, but Paul should be better than that. Paul, next time say “lending the money.” I’m just saying.
Then there’s the sign in front of a local church here, pimping the U.S. census. (This photo was on the front page of our daily newspaper a few months ago. I saved it because it stuck in my craw. Of course if I saved all of the items that stuck in my craw, I’d need to build an addition to the house. And I’d probably have to have my craw looked at.) The sign reads, “US CENSUS 2010/IT’S IN OUR HAND’S”. Yikes! Okay, they correctly used an apostrophe in the word ‘it’s’, but why did that make them think there was one needed in ‘hands’??? Just shoot me. It’s really not that difficult, friends.
Just a week ago the same paper ran a headline over the story of Helen Thomas’ retirement. If you missed it, Thomas was a White House correspondent who (according to this New York Times copyrighted story) created an uproar with some harsh remarks about a sensitive subject.
The (big!) headline read, “One too many blunt remark”. Um, ‘remarks’, guys. Really.
And finally (at least for this edition of ‘You’re Killing Me With This Crap’) there’s the subheadline (yes, I made that word up just for this occasion) under the “DARE officer leaves a lasting impression” headline. (FYI, DARE is a program our local police department runs in the schools. It’s an acronym for Drug Abuse Resistance Education.) It reads, “For 17 years, students have clinged to the words of Tom Forgue.”
Clinged? Come on, even now my spell-check is fighting me tooth and nail over that one. You people at the newspaper don’t have spell-check? Or editors? What the what?
All I’m asking is for a little respect, as Aretha would say. And yes, it should be “All I’m asking for is a little respect,” but you have to give poetic license when it comes to music and the arts. But the rest of the time, I say we should keep the language alive and well. Sometimes I think it’s on life support, and I’m worried about some overzealous nutcase pulling the plug.
Are you with me on this, people? Let’s save the language AND the whales!