language

Bush: Help is on the way

“Help is on the way.” President Bush says that a lot. And every time he does, sadly, I’m reminded of the old jokes “the check is in the mail” and “we’re from the government and we’re here to help.”

Grammatical peeves

Verbification. Coining a verb from a noun. It makes any English purist shudder. I’d like to strangle those who originated or help perpetuate these: Summit: To reach the top of a mountain, to reach the summit. Medal or podium: To earn a medal in a competition, which often means you get to stand on a podium to receive it. And at 6 a.m., I can’t remember the others. Oh yes, the noun embed: A reporter traveling with U.S. troops in Iraq. Could []

English ala Bush

Please, Mr. Bush, stop embarrassing yourself in public!! There is a difference between persecution and prosecution and most college-educated people know the difference. You embarrass me and the country with mistakes like that in your prepared speeches. Use your speechwriters, have them double-check your every word, and then stick to the script.

Roe v. Wade

Well, today is the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I know that because CNN just told me. And for what it’s worth, I will defend to the death a woman’s right to choose. Yes, abortion should be legal in this country. Everywhere, for that matter. Let me emphasize, however, that this makes me neither pro life nor pro abortion; it makes me pro choice. Please note that distinction. It is important!

Editorial curiosity

Lands’ End. Hmm. Was in the “reading room” last night and noticed something for the first time: Lands’ End catalog. Why do they punctuate it that way? Shouldn’t it be Land’s End? Is it a bunch of people named Land? More than one land, or country, coming to an end? Sure, graphically, it’s nice to have the apostrophe come between the words (on their covers, they run it all together). LANDS’END reads better than LAND’SEND. But is it correct? Only an editor []