Favorite

Words, Jan. 29 

Nickolas S. Jovanovic writes:

“From the Arkansas Blog Jan. 16 – ‘I can barely sit still, waiting for the renewal of “Friday Night Lights.” Lindsey Millar, more up-to-date than me in all things, has already seen the season opener on DirectTV.'

“Methinks the blogger should have written ‘more up-to-date than I,' ” Jovanovic says. “Perhaps the broader question is whether writing on web logs should conform to the rules of standard written English or to the lower standard of colloquial speech patterns.”

The usage manual Success With Words says: “Only an old-fashioned minority now say You're no better than I or He's older than she in their natural everyday speech. … But the change is not yet complete. In highly formal, and especially written, usage, than I, than she, etc., are still preferred.” Because most newspaper writing is informal, and usage has relaxed even more since SWW was published, I personally don't object to “more up-to-date than me” in print. Some authorities do.

Whether blogs are allowed to be even more casual than newspapers is a question I'm not qualified to answer. I asked the Times' blogger-in-chief if he sets the bar higher when he's writing for the newspaper, and he said yes.

 

Stuart Jay Silverman also has a bone to pick with the Times. He quotes: “She [a librarian] didn't know why it wasn't, and she'd try to assure that the omission wasn't repeated.”

The columnist probably meant “she'd try to make sure” or possibly “insure,” Silverman writes. “As the sentence stands, the reader is informed that the librarian will make an attempt to offer assurance, but it is likely that the librarian intends to make an attempt to correct the fault (after which she can offer assurances).” Assuredly, I thought, until I checked Random House, which says one meaning of assure is “to make (a future event) sure; ensure.”

The Associated Press stylebook, used by most newspapers, says that ensure means “guarantee” and insure refers only to insurance. Though not as emphatic, Random House seems to agree. I'm not sure I do. 

 

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

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

« »

October

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

  • Cotton to CIA?

    Political junkies without a real election to overanalyze fill the void with "what if?" scenarios. With the State Fair underway, consider this column a helping of cotton candy for such readers.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The casting couch

    • sigh............ I would argue that the idea of 'freedom from fear' is part of the…

    • on October 19, 2017
  • Re: Caution: government at work

    • As to the AR Chamber of Commerce-DO NOT FORGET it supports passage of SJR8, which…

    • on October 19, 2017
  • Re: The casting couch

    • Freedom from fear is a human right.

    • on October 19, 2017
 

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