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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Eat Your Popular Orange Veggies

Are you guilty of overusing your POVs?

No, not points of view--popular orange vegetables.

It seems the blogger of all things English for The Guardian (UK) sees too many colorful synonyms in news stories. You know the kind of thing. For example, in the Kansas City Star, actress Melissa Leo was referred to later in the article as "the wiry redhead." When one story in The Liverpool Echo referred to carrots as "the popular orange vegetable," throwing the newsroom into hysterics, our British blogger started calling all such hateful synonymous phrases POVs.

While I'm sympathetic to the cause--and I do get tired of hearing various countries called "the war-torn republic" or heads of state nicknamed "the beleagured leader"--I have to say that sometimes these phrases do impart a little extra info. The "wiry redhead" mentioned above provokes a chuckle, and maybe that could have been phrased better, but at least now I know Melissa Leo is a redhead. And wiry.

Read the blog and form your own opinion on the topic. The comments actually give some of the best examples (bananas = "bendy yellow fruit").

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's Not a Word, Thank God

I had a heart-stopping moment today during e-mail perusal, grammar fans. Every day I get loads of messages and updates from that venerable publication, Writer's Digest. They let me know what's going on in WD World in case I was too lazy to check the blogs (I usually am). Today one e-mail had this to say:
We all see the word "alot" used in various places, but our teachers always told us not to use it. Has something changed? Your favorite newsletter editor Brian A. Klems has the scoop. Click to continue.
--> Hail to good e-mail marketers everywhere! They can, occasionally, force me to do something I'd rather not. I know the story behind the word alot (it ain't one). I don't need Newsletter Editor Klems to clarify the matter for me. But the Insecure Grammarian within quailed just a bit upon reading the question
Has something changed?
and the command
 Click to continue.
 I clicked. I had to know.

Scoop update: Alot is still not a word. Ah, the relief of the righteous! Click here to read Brian's reassuring post. Click here to read what is (to my mind) a hilarious send-up of the nonword alot.

Donut probably is a word. *SIGH*