Posts Tagged ‘proofread’

Two Usage Goofs in One Article About Air Quality

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

 

Last Sunday's local newspaper carried an article about air quality standards.  In it, reporter Michael Tomberlin (The Birmingham News) misspelled words in two different quotes.  As you have seen in previous posts here, I am fairly lenient about grammar usage when people are speaking out loud.  However, in this case, the reporter wrote down what was said and should have caught the errors.  Here is the first goof:

"If things come down like some people want them too, a whole lot of counties are going to find themselves at a competitive disadvantage."

Whoops! There are three different spelling choices here–TO, TOO, TWO.  The reporter should have chosen TO, which is the choice for combination with a verb in an infinitive (TO WANT, TO DRIVE, TO SING).  The word TOO is an adverb that usually means either ALSO, as in PEOPLE WANT THIS CHANGE, TOO or OVERLY, as in THIS REGULATION IS TOO STRICT.  The sentence should read this way:

"If things come down like some people want them to, a whole lot of counties are going to find themselves at a competitive disadvantage."

The second goof appeared several paragraphs later.  It read as follows:

"Any time you have any restrictions that limit you're ability to recruit manufacturing companies, it's not a good thing."

Whoops again! The word YOU'RE is a contraction of YOU and ARE, as in YOU'RE (YOU ARE) ABLE TO RECRUIT COMPANIES.  The word the reporter needed in this instance was YOUR, which is an adjective meaning BELONGING TO YOU.  This sentence should have read this way:

"Any time you have any restrictions that limit your ability to recruit manufacturing companies, it's not a good thing."

Like most of us, Tomberlin probably knows the correct usage.  The trick is to PROOFREAD.