Posts Tagged ‘usage’

Proofread to catch wording Glitches–amusing or not!

Friday, July 29th, 2016

Wording Glitches detract from the quality of your message. Here are three somewhat amusing examples. Each writer could have spotted the Glitch by simply reading back through what had been written:

UAB airliftWhoops #1: In referring to a motorcycle crash last week, a Birmingham News reporter stated that two survivors "were airlifted to UAB but survived."

The implication here, with the word BUT, would not enhance the reputation of UAB emergency medicine. This wording suggests the two people survived IN SPITE OF their treatment at UAB! It should read this way:    After airlift to UAB, the two survived.

Whoops #2: In an article about student loan issues,a Birmingham News reporter created this sentence:

"Large portions of students at these institutions receive federal aid." portion control

A PORTION is a section or a piece of an individual thing. When used in this sentence, this word makes it sound as if PORTIONS of STUDENTS (which ones? Arms? Legs? Brains?) are receiving federal aid. The sentence should read this way so that the writer is referring to GROUPS of students, not CHUNKS of them!

 

Large numbers of students at these institutions receive federal aid.

 

Whoops #3: The Careless Caption Creator at The Birmingham News struck again this week with this interesting description of Bill Clinton who was waving with his wife at the Democratic convention:

"…the former president and husband of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton…"

Although the Clintons have had their difficulties, they are still very much married. This phrasing makes it sound as if Bill Clinton is both a former President and a former husband. Note also that, when referring to the chief executive of the United States, the word "President" should always be capitalized. The phrase should read this way:

the former President, husband of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton…

 

 

 


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.