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

  • 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 its 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 prophet Isaiah was a man of unclean lips and dwell among people of the…

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Turn to baseball

    • leave the rules the way they are. teach players how to hit, don't legislate no…

    • on July 20, 2017
  • Re: Pay attention

    • The beautiful new 12th St. Precinct is full of empty rooms: Why not create a…

    • on July 20, 2017
 

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