Favorite

Words March 30 

“Mardi Gras, which begins in earnest in New Orleans today, will be no less boisterous and luxuriant as previous ones, organizers say.”

This is from the Penguin Dictionary of American English Style and Usage:

“One as is usually not enough when a sentence likens two things in a simile or contrasts them in a comparison. Idiom calls for an as … as pair: ‘as happy as a lark’ or ‘twice as high as last year’s price.’ ”

In the example, there’s no place to put a second as, so we have to take the first one out and replace it with than: “Mardi Gras, which begins in earnest in New Orleans today, will be no less boisterous and luxuriant than previous ones, organizers say.”

Sometimes, people try to mix as and than in comparisons. Doesn’t work. The Penguin says: “The idioms are confused in these grim statistical items from television news: ‘The rate of crib deaths is twice as high for black infants than for whites.’/ ‘ … A child is fourteen times as likely to die of gunshot wounds in this country than in Northern Ireland.’ Each ‘than’ should be as …

“Than would be right in a construction like this: ‘It’s more popular than any other novel in print.’ Than commonly follows (1) an adjective with the suffix –er or (2) the adverb more or less plus an adjective.” As in, “Mardi Gras will be no less boisterous and luxuriant than previous ones.”

Incidentally, luxurious, which has to do with pleasure, is the word that belongs in that sentence, not luxuriant.



“All totaled, residents of Pleasant Plains and the nearby Floral collected about $400,000 and as a result, the board voted against a merger.”

A minor error, but the common phrase that belongs here is “all told,” not “all totaled.” A reader complains of a couple of Arkansas-Democrat Gazette columnists who haven’t mastered the usage.



Long-range suicide:

“A gunman who opened fire with a shotgun during a church service Sunday morning killed a woman and wounded two people before he shot himself a mile away, police said.”










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

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

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

« »

September

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: Sex on campus

    • Once again commentators blame the victim. Social scientists, of whom I am one, regularly find…

    • on September 22, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • Shiny, nobody is saying that Hillary isn't entitled to speak. Shit, the more she talks,…

    • on September 21, 2017
 

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