Things that bug: Newsanchor Grammar

I watch the news in the morning because I like to know what’s going on in the world… as censored a view as the news media gives us these days, anyway. I figure that a censored view that I can use as a jumping off point in efforts to learn more about given topics is better than no view at all. But I digress.

Now, I know I’m not the world’s greatest writer or speaker. And I know that I’ve written more than my share of un-diagrammable sentences, especially those ending with prepositions. But I like to think that I have a solid appreciation for the English language and all its words and phrases.

This is precisely why I get so incensed every day when I listen to the newsanchors speaking, and why I’m beginning to get more frustrated with reading newspapers, too. Words and phrases are constantly being used incorrectly, and it just angers me to no end. Here is a brief list of my favorites:

“Three more troops died in Iraq yesterday…” Wrong. Three troopers died in Iraq yesterday, unless there was a massive slaughter. A troop refers to a group of soldiers. A trooper is a member of a troop. So, really, we have not lost more than three thousand troops in Iraq to date – we’ve lost more than three thousand troopers. That’s a significant difference.

“Parents should make sure their teens know tattoos are all but permanent.” Wrong. Saying something is “all but” anything means that it’s, well, everything except that. Sadly, there’s a line in Star Wars that uses “all but” incorrectly: “The Jedi are all but extinct now.” Obi Wan should have said, “The Jedi are practically extinct now,” and this morning’s newsanchor should have said, “Tattoos are permanent.”

“Meantime, the police…” Wrong. It’s “in the meantime” or “meanwhile”. That just sounds stupid.

And, one of my favorites…

“The reason why doctors say… is because…” Wrong! That’s a triple redundancy! You’d might as well be saying, “Looking back, in retrospect…”

Who in the world is writing the news these days? Where did these copy editors go to school? Where did the editors go to school?

I weep for the future.

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4 thoughts on “Things that bug: Newsanchor Grammar

  1. Oh…oh, oh, oh, Eileen. I weep with you.
    One of my 'favorites' is at the grocery store. Publix is especially bad about this: in the aisle guide – the one that hangs above the aisle and tells you what's in the aisle – when it says "can milk" or "can vegetables". Can milk what? Can vegetables what?
    Thinking about this hurts my head.

  2. I knew that Gena would have a comment on this! Lynn Truss would have a field day with the Central Florida news anchors.
    The Publix incidents? Probably products of the Florida educational system. đŸ™‚
    My favorite local error is found on the sign for a pizza place. The owner is Papa Burly. His sign reads Papa Burlys'. I feel your pain.

  3. I love that I had a comma debate with my boss today. Granted, I'm in communications now, but I suggested putting a comma in his message, and was happily surprised when he asked why. This may be a problem, though. I'm a fan of commas…he's not. (I'm also a fan of ellipses, in case you can't tell…:)

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