Category: Pronouns

When They Is a Cop-out

Posted on Monday, April 28, 2014, at 6:40 pm

Ours is a language of traps and pitfalls. Anyone serious about writing in English has to take on problems no one has ever quite solved. One of the most obstinate of these, as inescapable as it is confounding, concerns singular pronouns that have plural connotations (everyone, nobody, anyone, somebody, etc.). Even fine writers on occasion …

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Media Watch

Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at 1:59 pm

Let’s zero in once more on cringe-inducers culled from recent dailies and periodicals … • Newspaper headline: “New look for a old test.” One of the principles of English you would think we all learned in third grade is that the article a goes before consonants (a pen, a hat), and the article an goes …

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Media Watch

Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, at 5:41 pm

Recent cringe-inducers from the print media … An upscale music venue ran ads for “An Evening With Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.” The second line said, “Formally of the 5th Dimension.” It was only after several weeks that someone caught the silly gaffe and sheepishly changed “Formally” to “Formerly.” From an article about a …

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The Future of English?

Posted on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at 10:57 am

The New York Times has called the author Jess Walter “ridiculously talented.” “His sentences nearly sing,” says the Los Angeles Review of Books. “One of my favorite young American writers,” says fellow novelist Nick Hornby. We agree with the critics. Walter’s 2012 best-seller Beautiful Ruins is a masterpiece. But today we’ll do a different kind …

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Look Who’s Talking

Posted on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, at 12:27 pm

On Nov. 15, a high-level government official caused quite a stir when he disparaged “white suburban moms” for resisting efforts to elevate teaching and learning in U.S. schools. “All of a sudden,” he said, “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they …

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