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

  • Hutchinson lobbyist moves to Teacher Retirement System

    Rett Hatcher, director of legislative affairs for Gov. Asa Hutchinson, has left the governor's staff to go to work Wednesday as deputy director of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System.
  • Obamascare

    Republicans at long last may be about to see their most fervent wishes and wildest predictions materialize — millions of people losing their medical and hospital coverage, unaffordable insurance, lost jobs, a Medicare financial crisis, mushrooming federal budget deficits and fiscal crises across state governments.
  • Megyn vs. Alex

    As vigorously hyped broadcast events go, Megyn Kelly's televised confrontation with internet conspiracy cultist Alex Jones proved something of a dud.

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

« »

June

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  

Most Viewed

  • Megyn vs. Alex

    As vigorously hyped broadcast events go, Megyn Kelly's televised confrontation with internet conspiracy cultist Alex Jones proved something of a dud.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Megyn vs. Alex

    • You say the same shit over and over again, investigator. How boring. Try real hard…

    • on June 22, 2017
  • Re: Megyn vs. Alex

    • And I quote: "the absurd allegation that Hillary Clint would show up for a presidential…

    • on June 22, 2017
  • Re: Cops and juries

    • And I quote, "You're okay with authority doing whatever it pleases because of the fact…

    • on June 22, 2017
 

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