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Letters to the Editor: Feb. 20, 2013

I’m learning to live with the changing English language, though my former students’ comments on FaceBook tell me they aren’t mellow enough, yet, to take it in stride.  A funny definition for Standard English Usage (grammar) is “what the older generation speaks.”  I’m suggesting my students (now adults) join my “Tsk-Tsk Club” and not get upset with blatant errors, because we’re in a transition period; it’s going to get worse before it gets better, and we probably won’t see the effort on a turn around in our lifetime.

I am recommending maintaining personal standards as a “model” and just responding to the rest with a “Tsk-tsk.”  This isn’t working for a lot of readers of The Washington Post, however, but that’s The Post’s problem.

Now, why this e-mail?

I have occasion to read issues of The ’Doah when on campus for a concert, program, or some other reason.  The paper is for students on campus so it is probably not worth the effort to nag about obvious errors.  But, if members of the Winchester community also see it, it might not impress them because of lack of editing at the college level.

For example, in the issue dated Wednesday, 2.2.13:
Page 4, in the article, “Househunting: May the odds be forever in your favor,” the last sentence in paragraph two ended, “…with who.”  Then later in paragraph eight, an “item” listed, “Next task to tackle: whom you will be living with.”  That got the object-pronoun correct, but still put the preposition, not in front of it, but at the end of the statement.  So there was one sort-of hit, and one miss with who/whom from the same writer.

Page 6 had a similar error:  In the review of Hunger Games, “…it was hard to tell who was fighting who.”  [I fully expect the next dictionary edition to make whom “archaic, and state that then/than are interchangeable.]
The possibly most creative one, however, was in the article, “The sublime joy of Superhuman Happiness,” where the sentence read, “There are seven members who have weaved their way into the New York music scene.”

Earlier in the first paragraph of that article, a quoted statement only had quotation marks at the end:  The music is your ride to the dance party.”  [sic]  and then the speaker is identified in a following statement that starts with , “Explains band’s front man Stuart Boogie in an interview with Rolling Stones Magazine,…” and ends with an independent clause, “…and the band embodies just that!”

I know we read The ’Doah because we pick up occasional issues from the campus stands, but it could make the community wonder about campus literacy levels if the paper is making its way through town, hand to hand.

–Madlon

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