Favorite

Nixes on Exes 

Munthlee Parker writes:

"I went to the George Strait concert and heard him sing 'All My Exes Live In Texas.' I knew that was wrong, but I didn't say anything. Then I read in the daily paper about a ceremony at the Airport: 'Political figures from the present and the past sprinkled the crowd. They included two former governors – ex-Sen. Dale Bumpers and Jim Guy Tucker.' I can't remain silent any longer. When will American schools start teaching the proper use of ex- ? Or are we just going to let the Chinese be the only ones who use ex- correctly? Then I guess we'll start eating with chopsticks too."

Mr. Parker may be a little too ex-cited, and I certainly hope he's wrong about the chopsticks. But strictly speaking, he's identified two errors, at least under the old rules. The usage manual "Success With Words" says "When the prefix ex- is attached to a title (as in ex-president) or a word (as in ex-husband), the resulting term designates the person who held the position immediately before the current holder. The term former should be used to refer to any previous holders of the position." The rule holds true even if the position is now vacant. Only the last person to hold it is ex-. So George Strait should have sung "My Ex Lives in Texas, And So Do All My Formers," and Bumpers should have been identified as "former Sen. Dale Bumpers." After him came Blanche Lincoln. Not there's John Boozman.

Not all the contemporary authorities are so picky about ex-. The Associated Press Stylebook says only that "usually former is better."

Remember the great pitcher Dizzing Dean?

"The financial success of the paperback became its cultural downfall. Media conglomerates bought the upstart pocket-book firms and began chasing after quick-money best-sellers ... And while paperbacks remain commonplace, they're no longer dizzingly cheaper than hardcovers."

Not highly educated, Ol' Diz probably wouldn't have noticed the misspelling here. But you'd expect more from the editors of Smithsonian magazine. The word they wanted is dizzyingly.

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

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

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

« »

September

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 Recent Comments

  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Once again commentators blame the victim. Social scientists, of whom I am one, regularly find…

    • on September 22, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • Shiny, nobody is saying that Hillary isn't entitled to speak. Shit, the more she talks,…

    • on September 21, 2017
 

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