Favorite

Counting down 

"People are surprised when they find that I did not go down with the count."

As we've noted before, choosing the right preposition can be troublesome. It's mostly determined not by formal rule, but by common usage. In this case, the common usage is "down for the count," a reference to the boxing ring. A downed fighter must get up before the referee counts to 10, or he's declared the loser ("counted out"). Using a different preposition than for can produce interesting images. Going down on the count might evoke synchronized swimming; going down to the count, a victim of Dracula's.

"Prep gridiron under way; Stuttgart romps CAC to kick off high school football season." Romp is an indirect verb. Stuttgart may have romped ("won easily"), but it didn't romp CAC. The Ricebirds may have stomped CAC, but I don't know the score.

Oops:

A reader points out politely that while the Words columnist on Sept. 19 was prattling on about the right way to do possessives, this item appeared just a couple of pages away: "Poor peoples' stubborn refusal to eat losing scratch-off tickets." It should be people's.

Big Oops:

A more devastating communication came from Ali Welky, who quotes the Words columnist: "Some old-timers, who shall remain anonymous, learned in long-ago classrooms to add an apostrophe and an –s to form all possessives. These people would write 'The Bumperses's hospitality is famous,' despite all the hissiness."

Welky writes: "Can that really be? Unless perhaps some rogue teachers took matters into their own hands? For plural possessives, the apostrophe goes after the s (or es)."

Once again, my trusting nature has been abused. When that anonymous old geezer came into the newsroom yakking about what he'd learned in long-ago classrooms, I should have thrown him out instead of repeating his fictions.

I've known some rogue teachers, but none that authorized Bumperses's. Welky is correct.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated itsĀ 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • The first commandment directly contradicts the first amendment.

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Arkyguy, try Numbers 31:17-18.

      Bishop?

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • And I quote: "Sounds like maybe some of those descriptors hit a little close to…

    • on July 21, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation