Favorite

Words May 19 

“That is precisely why programs like ‘The Newshour with Jim Lehrer’ and ‘Washington Week’ are so important — because they offer in-depth reporting about the real issues rather than focusing on celebrities or offering fast-paced sound bytes.” Those are sound bites — short and provocative quotations — not sound bytes. The name comes from bite-sized, not from computer terminology. “A. Tenenbaum Co. is 115 years old, but a year and a half of sky-high steel prices have made these the salad days.” Salad days are a period of youthful inexperience. I don’t understand how a 115-year-old company is only now getting around to its salad days, but maybe I just don’t have a head for business. “A Dumas couple on Thursday was awarded $1 million by the state Claims Commission for severe injuries suffered when a state police cruiser struck their vehicle three years ago.” Whether you treat couple as singular or plural, you’re stuck with your choice at least until the end of the sentence. Both verbs and pronouns have to match the noun in number. So, if a couple was (singular) awarded, then the police cruiser struck its (singular) vehicle. The sentence reads better if you go plural all the way. “A Dumas couple were awarded … when a police cruiser struck their vehicle.” Most of the time, you can’t go wrong treating couple as a plural. Speaking of couple, is it correct to say “Give me a couple of doughnuts,” or should it be “Give me a couple doughnuts”? Garner’s Dictionary of Modern American Usage says: “Omitting the of is slipshod in such a construction as this: ‘Is a used toilet seat worth $1 million? Or even a couple [read couple of] hundred thousand dollars?’ In other words, using couple not as a noun but as an adjective is poor usage: instead of a couple days ago, say a couple of days ago.” A colleague asks if it’s toward or towards. I think they’re pretty much interchangeable these days, but some authorities still say that in American English, the preferred form is toward, while towards is preferred in British English.
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 first commandment directly contradicts the first amendment.

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Arkyguy, try Numbers 31:17-18.

      Bishop?

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • And I quote: "Sounds like maybe some of those descriptors hit a little close to…

    • on July 21, 2017
 

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