I’d like to know if people have always been so lax about their use of the English language or if it’s just a recent phenomenon. My guess is that it’s more prevalent today but I don’t claim (as so many others do) to know why. And to be sure one would really need to look over the past couple of hundred years of human communication. Only Larry King is old enough to do that and he’ s not talking about it.
By the way, that’s how I imagine I look when I complain about grammar. Anyway….
My current pet peeve is the incorrect spelling of Santa Claus. Our favourite fictitious character is being called Santa Clause because of the movie, The Santa Clause, which was about a clause involving Santa Claus. It’s a clever title that plays on the word clause but many people have mistaken it for the surname Claus. Maybe it was too clever because it has spawned this annoying and prolific error.
I received a news alert this weekend from an esteemed news outlet. It told me that a Canadian soldier had been “killed in a roadside bomb.” How they ever fit that poor soldier inside that bomb, we might never know. Ahem! He was killed by a roadside bomb or in a roadside bombing. Althought I’ve never actually been to a war zone I feel confident in saying that he was not in a roadside bomb.
Another head-scratcher occured recently during the Snowmageddon crisis here in London. Mayor Joe Fontana met with other city officials and decided that a state of emergency was not necessary. However, that’s not how it came across in one newscast when the anchor said, “Fontana stopped short at declaring a state of emergency.” No, he stopped short OF declaring a state of emergency. If he had stopped short AT declaring a state of emergency then it would have been declared and Fontana would have chosen not to go further to, whatever. To declaring a state of extreme panic, perhaps.
One little word can make so much difference. One little repeated spelling error can make a person look at least careless and at most unintelligent. Hey, we all make mistakes but we usually try not to make a hobbit of them.