More people (other than Larry King) who don’t make a lot of sense in public

Last year I called out people and institutions for messing up the language in ways big and small. Once again, I’m not elbowing ordinary folks for mistyping an email. Instead, they’re either public figures who should know better or institutions that have editors, PR experts, or other professionals to make sure they communicate properly. Or both.

You’re role models, and these errors are preventable, folks. Please, care enough to prevent them!

“It’s Regency Furniture’s 25th silver anniversary.” Really? The furniture company has been around since 1389? Listening to the radio in the car one January night, I responded, “You did not just say that!”

Advertisements for Ford vehicles have been using the tagline “Go Further.” I guess we can assume the company is talking metaphorically rather than literally about the vehicles’ ability to drive a long distance on whatever fuel they use. Because that would be “farther.” Wrote AutoGuide.com, “The new slogan, ‘Go Further,’ is intended in part as a warning against complacency after three years of profits, executives say.” Oh. Then maybe it’s not a grammatical mistake….

On January 6, the sports page of the Washington Post Express told us about this year’s “parody-filled” NBA conference. That it may be. Also parity-filled. But I like it the first way better.

Did you gift this to someone for the holidays? “ ‘The Art of French Gifting—La Vie est Belle’ Holiday Soirée Purchase with Purchase ($89 Value)” by Lancome. I love what the Atlantic said about this abuse of the English language: “Would you ever say ‘gifting’ out loud? Would you ever, without a sense of irony or shame, ask someone the question, ‘What can I gift you for your birthday?’ No, most likely, you would not. Not only because you are not (I am assuming) socially awkward, but also because, more to the point, you are not—or you would very much prefer not to be—a stooge of Madison Avenue.”

Scott Pelley, anchor, CBS Evening News: “There’s the First Lady in the First Lady’s box with several guests that have been invited.” No, no, Scott. A journalist of your experience should know that people and named animals are who; objects and unnamed animals are that. (This is the second time I’ve dinged Mr. Pelley for a grammatical bugaboo.)

NBC’s Anne Thompson, on the eve of January’s blizzard: “New York’s streets will most likely shut down by 11 p.m. tonight.” Not to single out NBC; Thompson’s hardly the only reporter to inflict this redundancy on us.

Penguin Press, which is touting a very political memoir by the very political David Axelrod, just put out a release with a whopping mistake in it. As Foreign Policy wrote, “Can you ‘C’ the typo?” “… I’m reaching out regarding BELIEVER: My Forty Years in Politics by David Axelrod, which we are proud to publish on February 10th (exactly 8 years after Senator Barak Obama stood on the steps of the Old Capitol Building in Springfield and announced he was running for president of the United States). … No other person, except perhaps for Barak Obama, knows exactly what it took to make that announcement possible ….”

I count seven errors (not just style quibbles such as hyphenation) in this story from WIOD Radio about an embarrassing government typo:
“Advertising Error Forces Miami-Dade County To Re-Approve 2015 Budget”
“Deja Vu for Miami-Dade County as commissioners are being forced to re-approve their 2015 budget.
“The Florida Department of Revenue says the county has to re-adopt it’s property tax-rate and budget again because of a numerical error that was detailed in a September newspaper advertisement about the tax rate.
“Residents’ rate won’t be changed as a result, and the notices sent out via mail were correct and do not have to be re-sent.
“But Commissioners are expected to hold it’s new hearing early next month. They have to hold another public hearing, re-issue the newspaper ad, and hold its vote.”

And now a promising note: “Report a Typo or Grammatical Error”
“FOX40 takes accuracy in our writing very seriously, but errors can sometimes slip through. If you notice a typo or grammatical error, please let us know.
“Using the form below, let us know which story you found the error in and we will promptly correct it.
“Thank you for reading FOX40.com.”
Hey! Thank you, Fox40, the Fox affiliate station in Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, California. I hope people take you up on this—or rather, don’t, if it indicates you’re doing a good job on this front.

Copyright 2015 Ellen M. Ryan. All rights reserved.

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