Friday, October 27, 2006
In Search of Lost Grammar
While attending Liberty Lives! last week (a full review of the proceedings is coming soon), I had an opportunity to chat with Stephen Cox, Editor of Liberty and a professor of literature at UC San Diego, during which he mentioned that he was a grammar nut. While I have to admit my knowledge of English grammar is far less than his, I told him that I too, found it very annoying that most Americans have little education and a poor understanding of the language they use to communicate with others.
In recent issues, Mr. Cox has been writing monthly articles called "Word Watch," in which he discusses communication issues.
It occurs to me that I ought to mention the odd case of the mugging of the English language, particularly when it's perpetrated by professional communicators.
For my first example, I'll use a phrase that pops up very often on tv and radio, and they always get it wrong. When speaking of a gap between two entities, a newsperson will say," between A to B."
Anyone who has ever set foot inside a school, even if just to use a bathroom, should know better than that.
Between A to B.
I hear it daily in the media. What kind of uneducated cretins are they hiring, these days?
It's "between A and B." Or alternatively, "from A to B."
I knew we were in trouble when, several years ago, the news covered a teachers' strike. The teachers were picketing on the public sidewalks in front of the schools carrying signs and chanting silly slogans.
The bad news? Several words on many of the picket signs were misspelled.
I fear for the health of the Republic.