Favorite

Words Dec. 15 

“OAKLAND, Calif. – A liquor store was heavily damaged by an apparent arson fire Monday, just days after it was trashed by well-dressed vandals who told the owners to stop selling to black people, authorities said.”

This arson fire phrasing appears in print often these days. Why? Arson is a noun. Why not say “A liquor store was heavily damaged by apparent arson” or “A liquor store was heavily damaged by fire, apparently arson”? Arson fire is not technically incorrect, I suppose, since just about any noun can be used as an adjective. But it sounds dopey and out of place in a newspaper article, like widow woman or pizza pie.



Stop me before I exact again:

Any mention of overused words and phrases, as was made here a couple of weeks back, will elicit more nominees. Dr. Patrick Carroll of Pocahontas has a couple:

Exactly. Of late, when I hear someone make a statement that precisely expresses my own opinion, I catch myself responding, ‘Exactly!’ I hear others doing it too. It’s beginning to get on my nerves, but I can’t stop myself.”

No problem. I do not use this one myself, but it’s become annoyingly popular with people in the service sector. I stop by the hotel desk and ask for my room key. The clerk says ‘no problem’ as he hands it to me (as if I thought getting it WOULD be a problem for him). The waitress asks if I want a refill on my iced tea. ‘No problem,’ she says as she tops my glass off. I suspect use of ‘no problem’ was started by some management consultant who thought it was a good idea, but it’s being badly overused.”



“While the ACLU has been successful in kowtowing locals over Christmas constitutional law, Ventrella said that ‘their legal position is extremely weak; it’s rarely sustained when challenged.’ Ken Parker writes: “I have never seen ‘kowtowing’ used in that sense.” Me either. Kowtow is an intransitive verb. If I kowtow, I do it on my own. You can’t kowtow me. Intimidating or browbeating would have fit.


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 »

More by Max Brantley

Most Shared

  • Former state board of education chair Sam Ledbetter weighs in on Little Rock millage vote

    Ledbetter, the former state Board of Education chair who cast the decisive vote in 2015 to take over the LRSD, writes that Education Commissioner Johnny Key "has shown time and again that he is out of touch with our community and the needs of the district." However, Ledbetter supports the May 9 vote as a positive for the district's students and staff.

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 »

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Event Calendar

« »

April

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: Art bull

    • Well, when the Bull was first put up there, it meant one thing, and that…

    • on April 24, 2017
 

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