Friday, July 7, 2017

Say whaaat???, or Much ado about almost nothing

Something is rotten in the state of communication.

Three times in one day -- twice in print and once on the radio -- I encountered ignorance in our midst.

As one who spent many years editing other people's work, I was definitely irked.

Let me explain.

In our county's weekly newspaper, The Cherokee Ledger (there's a daily paper as well, The Cherokee Tribune, but it costs money and the Ledger is free), I read two separate sentences in a lengthy story about a woman who is seeking political asylum in the U.S. that stopped me cold:

1. "In Venezuela, [the woman] voted against Hugo Chavez and her name is listed on a blacklist as a trader," the [family] said." (emphasis mine)

2. [Her husband] said, "The other reason it's dangerous is she is a Venezuelan (ex-patriot) who's lived in the U.S. for fifteen years. If she's deported, she most likely won't make it out of the airport." She most likely will be picked up by the military police, kidnapped, tortured or killed, [her husband] said. "We simply cannot send [her] back to Venezuela , because she will die," he said. (emphasis mine)

In spite of the newspaper reporter quoting -- QUOTING -- the family and the husband as saying those things, I'm as sure as the day is long that the words "trader" and "ex-patriot" never left their lips. The words the reporter or the editor back at the office missed, mes amies, are obviously traitor and Venezuelan expatriate, and the parentheses were definitely the result of wrong-headed thinking. That last clause is an example of the pot calling the kettle black.

Lovers of the English language around here live in a constant state of consternation. My teeth ache from being clenched so much.

This post has been in draft status for so long that I have forgotten the third example that I heard on the radio. If I remember it, you'll be the first to know.


  1. I know what you mean. I am constantly correcting grammar when I hear incorrect usage on television. Under my breath I say the correct word. It drives me crazy. And the strange things I hear on the news or read in the news amaze me. How stupid do they think I am? Perhaps I am just getting too old.

  2. Sigh.
    And a blogger I came across uses the phrase 'Wah Lah' often when she means voila. And no, I don't think she is being cute or clever. She genuinely believes that is the way the word is spelt.

  3. In my experience the number of lovers of English grammar is diminishing by the day. I mourn. Requiescat in pace.

  4. Thanks for commenting, everyone! Mark Twain once said that the difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.

  5. It bothers me far more as I get older this kind of business. You will be astounded to hear this as you read my blog. Hahahahaha. Mine own is different, more like 'free-style' writing - *falls about*. Another nod of thanks for my latest error. Blimey guvnor! x

  6. Michelle, your latest error was one for the ages! I'm still laughing and blushing).