Grammatical Sheep

Most radio stations, TV stations and newspapers subcribe to a news service called CP, Canadian Press, formerly known as BN or Broadcast News.

I can say with certainty that every radio newscaster I listened to yesterday pulled a story directly from that service and did not rewrite this line: Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the September 11th attacks is a reminder….”

Let me repeat that: the September 11th attacks is a reminder…IS? No siree. The attackS are, not is, but not one of them caught it, not in London, not Toronto. The most interesting part of this faux pas is that it’s not what the PM said. I read the speech. A reporter paraphrased it with bad grammar and then everyone followed – the editor at CP, the editor/anchors at radio stations, possibly across the country.

It’s a rare news hound who thinks critically about what they’re fed. There are many here in London but only experience and a trust in your gut feeling can teach you when to fire up the BS-detector. But when it comes to grammar – here’s my old fart theme song again – it’s just falling by the wayside and no one seems to care.

It’s not grammar, but my detector went off yesterday after we learned that little Keinan Hebert was brought home to Sparwood, BC by an abductor who fled. First, thank GOODNESS the boy is okay. But second, a police officer told media the boy was “safe and sound”. Really? He was gone for five days, allegedly with a man who wasn’t known to him and he’s sound? What happened to him during that time is something we don’t yet know but I would think that just being denied his own bed and toys and Mommy and Daddy for several days and nights would be enough to question the wisdom of saying the three year old is “sound”. I hope everyone who used that phrase, “safe and sound”, attributed it to police because it doesn’t take a psychologist to understand that the lad just might be adversely affected by what he went through. And even if he isn’t, the minute he comes home can’t possibly be the time to decide.

Now back to grammar.

A whole new generation of broadcasters, it seems, doesn’t know how to pronounce a slew of words. Comparable has become com-pair-able instead of comp-er-uh-ble. The way language ebbs and flows it won’t be long before the mispronunciations are acceptable. Oh that’s another one: pronunciation. I regularly hear pron-ounce-ee-ation instead of pron-un-cee-ation. Harrumph.

I could not do a “randt” about grammar without an improper apostrophe sighting! We pulled into a strip mall Saturday beside a sign for a ladies’ underthings store that promoted a bra sale. But oh no, not just a bra – ‘bra’s’. Yes, bras with an apostrophe, over and over. They must have written it 3 or 4 times. Bra’s, bra’s, bra’s. Brrr. They might have the best prices and selection of bras in London but I won’t be able to get past those apostrophes to find out!

2 thoughts on “Grammatical Sheep”

  1. I wonder, what ever happened to the “Art”, in the art of communications? Oh right, its abstract or free form art, where anything goes!

  2. That bra misspeller should be given the strap…or both of them! And thanks, Lisa. As another fan of grammar (and yes, singulars/plurals trip up a lot of broadcasters) I’ll be passing this blog entry on to the junior radio type in our family unit who, due to time constraints, is likely at the mercy of wire writers on occasion. Keep fighting the good fight, Lisa! You and I will one day be like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (and why can’t she spell)?” but oh, we’ll laugh between fist shakes.

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