Favorite

Words June 23 

Edward Wooten finds fault with the Arkansas Times’ June 9 cover headline, “The bird is the word but the Big Woods are the story.” “I would argue that ‘Big Woods’ is singular and hence the verb should be ‘is,’ ” he writes. A writer choosing a verb for woods can’t go wrong either way. Random House and Success With Words are a couple of authorities that say woods takes either a singular or a plural verb. SWW adds that “the plural is the more usual choice: The woods are scary tonight.” Possibly Wooten believes Big Woods is singular because the phrase is the proper name of a particular place or thing, and therefore whether woods itself is singular or plural is irrelevant. I don’t adhere to that theory. I would never write “The Rocky Mountains is quite tall.” The notion that plural nouns become singular when they’re capitalized as part of a proper name seems to be most popular in sports departments: “The Arkansas Razorbacks is taking the field.” “The Yankees is in last place in the Eastern Division.” I don’t like it there either. Sounds unnatural. An emu band, now, that would be something to see: “The Atlanta-based ‘emo’ band, Copeland, sings about life and love.” I asked Times music columnist Amy Brawner about emo. She replies: “It’s a sort of a take-off on punk, guitar-driven but instead of 45-second atonal thrashing rock and the subject matter being anarchy and other such lofty subjects, emo is usually emaciated, depressed boys that sing about being alienated. Despite what that may sound like, there’s actually some good stuff out there, like Jimmy Eat World. Kevin Kerby also says that emo bands tend to wear too-tight vintage T-shirts.” Stuart Jay Silverman of Hot Springs writes: “Am I the only person who deplores the abuse of ‘–less,’ as in ‘Payless Shoes’? I’m tempted to buy a pair of loafers and feign astonishment when I’m asked to pay for them, but the clerk, who’d probably be puzzled and irate, is neither the person who perpetrated the barbarism, nor in any position to undo it.”
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

  • Circuit court charge filed against Ten Commandments monument destroyer

    The Pulaski County prosecuting attorney's office filed a direct charge in circuit court today against Michael Tate Reed, who's been held in the county jail since he was arrested June 28 after driving over and demolishing the day-old Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • Whatever secret bill Senate considers, winners and losers are the same

    The U.S. Senate seems likely to vote Tuesday on a secret health bill. Whatever version is rolled out — and if Sen. John McCain's doctor approves a fly-in so he may vote — the outcome is the same. Bad for working poor and previously sick; good for rich people.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • Two shot in home on W. 19th

    KARK reports that a 19-year-old woman and 20-year-old man were found with gunshot wounds when police responded to a house in the 4200 block of W. 19th.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • 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

« »

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 Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • IBS, were you there in Benghazi to personally witness all of Hillary's blunders like you…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • If God felt it necessary to replace the ten commandments, he could do it like…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Football for UA Little Rock

    • He's BSC. Students and tuition-paying parents should be VERY vocal that a football program won't…

    • on July 23, 2017
 

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