The Pedantís Revolt: In this joyously combative series, SIMON HEFFER goes to war on sloppy English. Be warned: Youíll either cheer or want to punch him
Inever thought I'd find myself agreeing with the Mail!
My personal gripe is news reporters who persistently say that someone will "try and do something". This usually crops up several times in each news programme.
It's "try TO do..."
I did have this out with a friendly journo once ... and he had it nailed down as a response.
Yes, to say 'try to do' is the general correct usage, and people will often mean this when they say somethings else. However, when someone refers to 'try and do', it can refer to the fact that an individual attempted something and was successful at it. 'Try and do' signifies the attempt and the success.
And then he agreed that this is very rare and most folk are just numpties who can't be bothered to read what they write.
The other things that annoys me about this article is that it allows for now development of the use of language, especially where the frames of reference (e.g. long term partnerships rather than marriage) now exist.
Access: to access rather than to gain access is used in a number of technical specifications, including RFCs. If language is adapted due to specific need (e.g. technical growth), and with specific definitions, then surely there is no problem?
Adultery: the frame of reference used (marriage) needs to be updated.
Choice: The stipulation that a choice is only ever made from 2 options is slightly faulty or that it is always singular. There can be a range of options and there may be several choices to be made as a result. A choice of starter, a choice of main course, a choice of pudding and a choice of the implement to wield when getting annoyed.
Collide / Collision: All bodies are in motion. The premise that a tree is not moving fails to take into account the earth's orbit, the expansion model of the universe, etc. If he wants to be pedantic then let's get back to basic physics ... the interesting moot court' discussions during A level physics lessons on such things and the several 100 press ups I had to do during RMP training where I would say 'accident' instead of 'collision' when dealing with road traffic scenarios may have also swayed my opinion on this.
Disabled: This is a pet hate of mine from days working with children with disabilities. People have impairments. They are impaired. Society denotes their disabilities in a broad range of categories. They are not 'the disabled'. This shorthand reference to a group of people is abhorrent in all areas. Language is part of how society interacts with one another. Again, it just shows how poor his frames of reference are.
Livid: This refers to a change of colour due to a blow of shock, often used to describe the discolouration of contusions, which will range from black, blue, red, brow, orange, yellow and even white. Where he refers to the use metaphorically, this is incorrect. It refers to how a blow (mental or physical) might cause discolourations, including the flushing of face (reddening) or draining of colour (paling).
The responses to this list on some of the language lists has been amusing ... most agree that the intent is worthy, but the execution lacks a basic understanding of any form of language growth or adaptation for specific needs.
Others just agree that being a grammar/language nazi is one way the Daily Fail have of shipping copy.