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"US jet crashes in Libya, both crew are safe" 

n "US jet crashes in Libya, both crew are safe"

Maybe people have been doing this for awhile and I'm just now noticing, but in any case, I want it stopped. (The misuse of crew, that is, not the safety of American servicemen.) A crew is "a group of people working together." A crew is not an individual any more than a team is. "Four team scored in the game against Siwash."? No. "Four players scored" or "four team members scored" would be correct. So would "both crew members are safe." At one time, we'd have said "both crewmen are safe," but everybody's more gender-conscious these days.

As I said, "Both crew members are safe" would be OK. "A couple crew members are safe" would not be OK with me. I still write "couple of crew members." Some people now use "couple" as an adjective and omit the "of." Indeed, this usage has become so common I've generally quit protesting. Not William D. Lindsey, however. Prompted by an item in the Arkansas Times, he writes: "When I see a review in your paper that uses the word 'couple' in that trendy louche way, I immediately decide to pitch the review and ignore anything the writer is saying in it."

Ignoring what Arkansas Times writers have to say is quite a sacrifice, but Mr. Lindsey seems fully prepared to make it.

A sharp-eyed ophthalmologist, Dr. George T. Schroeder, found something to dislike in the Times also. "Spared the death penalty by only two jurors who held out against capitol punishment, he now sits in prison for life ..."

Dr. Schroeder wonders whether "capitol punishment" means "being confined to stocks in front the Capitol, or perhaps being compelled to sit through the legislative proceedings all day. ... Perhaps no one ever taught the writer that capitol refers to a specific building for the center of government." Perhaps no one taught the writer, the editor and the proofreader that the death penalty is capital punishment. More likely, we were distracted by the basketball tournament, in which some of us had as much as $5 invested.

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