English: Case Of The Abandoned Preposition

Posted on February 4, 2013. Filed under: grammar, Journalism, language | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Your words for the day:

  • to = a preposition that sends the action of a verb to an object
  • preposition = a word that is used before a noun (as in pre position)
  • orphaned = bereft of purpose or guidance (crossword creators can make ’em up; so can I)

My C.I. (Clueless Informant):  that same Parade Magazine (Sunday, December 30, 2012) providing grist for my previous post.

Scene of the Crime:  A product advertisement touting…   well…   so far as I could tell, it was touting touts about a book on nutrition  that it was…   well…   touting.  I mean, it was a list of 37 touts about stuff like stopping the aging process, making arteries “smooth and bendy,” and “a stick of gum can save the cost of a day in the hospital.”  No real information.  Just teasers enticing you to get your snake oil…   er…   valuable reference book.  As I perused this recipe for immortality, the poor orphaned “to,” all alone in the midst of many, gained my pity.

  • The sentence of abandonment:  “Breakthrough research reveals you can slow — even reverse — the aging process with certain foods and activities that our bodies respond to with vibrant good health!”

Right off, I will agree that this construction sounds pleasing to the ear and does not seem to possess incongruity.  It is a grammatical format that all of us utilize without hesitation.  BUT…

That poor little “to” wants mightily to point to something.  That is why it exists.  It would point to “foods and activities,” but that other preposition, with, is hogging all of their attention, and, tauntingly, has even corralled “vibrant good health” right under “to’s” nose.  Oh, the pain to must feel.

Fortunately, “to’s” plight can be corrected.  A simple cosmetic procedure on that sentence will salvage little “to” and return it to a full and useful life of pointing.  Voila:

  • “Breakthrough research reveals you can slow — even reverse — the aging process with certain foods and activities to which our bodies respond with vibrant good health!”  (“Which” is a stunt double for foods and activities.)

We speak in the vernacular without giving a lot of thought to grammatical constructions.  Professional wordsmiths, on the other hand, supposedly give every word and gist careful thought.  Experts, at least those well aware of their expert status, irritate me with their better-than-everybody-else airs.  To impress me, PROFESSIONAL WORDSMITHS gotta do better than this.  Hey, you guys might take a peak at Nezza’s work at Hella@Sydney.  Talk about “smooth and bendy.”  Ouch!

Okay!  This is a short posting.  I promised more than I could deliver today.

Next up:  More grammatical finger-pointing.


Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

English: It Ain’t That Hard

Posted on January 29, 2013. Filed under: grammar, Journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Your words for the day:

  • ain’t = is not; am not; are not; have not; has not (it’s a lot like that Hawaiian word aloha, but a lot more informal — non-snooty if you like)
  • aloha = hello, goodbye, nice to see you, bon voyage, have a good time, long time no see…   you get it
  • wordsmith = somebody who uses words skillfully, such as a professional writer or journalist
  • poetaster = a writer of bad poetry (Not relevent to this article, but it showed up as a synonym of “wordsmith.”  It sounds to me like an antonym, but, either way, I could have used this one in my previous article)

A December 30, 2012, printing (Parade Magazine, a Sunday newspaper insert) had an item that caught my eye…   eyes…   both of my eyes.  The subject was “subject/verb” disagreement…  not the subject of the article…   the subject of what my eyes caught.

The feat of grammatical peaceful coexistence, according to on-line articles posted by some of the Great Learned, hinges upon identifying the subject of the verb.  In keeping with that principle, I will (ala the Great Learned) condescendingly point out selected subject/verb pairs throughout this article, which I have kindly kept short.  (condescending hint:  they will be paired in brackets.  They would be underlined, but this program does not permit underlining.)

Sir Scott (as I am sure [all] of his buds [call] him) was answering the socially burning question (from a faithful reader) of whether [more] than one couple from the Bachelor/Bachelorette* series [have done] the matrimony bit.  The answer, Faithful Reader, is a resounding “YES!”  Sir Scott’s count is that [all] of three (3) [have joined] in wedded bliss.  Here, count ’em:

  1. Ashley and J.P.
  2. Jason and Molly
  3. Trista and Ryan

Hmmmph!  Only needed one hand for that.

In haste, I must point out that Sir [Scott]  [has imparted] much more knowledge about those reality* shows than [I] would ever [have sought] on my own.

Speaking of haste, let me move on to the obligatory finger-pointing.  Responding to the faithful reader’s inquiry.  Sir Scott’s [verbage] [reveals] that [Trista and Ryan] [did indeed tie] the knot, and now…   “the couple live in Colorado.”  (Give him a raspberry.)

Since couple is singular, that should read “the couple lives in Colorado.”

Don’t fret, Scott, you old professional wordsmith, you.  I’m sure you have a fully staffed back-up team of professional proof-readers more than happy to say, “WE goofed!”  One must keep that professional image spotless.


*You know…   those real life courtship dramas in which a stable-full of hopefuls —  under the watchful eyes of dozens of cameras and directors and narrators and make-up specialists — spontaneously generate tears and emotions while navigating a marathon of competitive winner-take-all contests…   interludes…   while navigating a series of “romantic interludes.”

Next up:  2 for 1:  Gerund phrase, if-were tandem, 50-word sentence…   ??…   maybe 3 for 1. 

 And, a split infinitive.  A 4-fer?

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...