Magazine article Communication World

Captain Radio Meets Malingerer as Smithing Gold Grows Business in Miami. (WOOD ON WORDS)

Magazine article Communication World

Captain Radio Meets Malingerer as Smithing Gold Grows Business in Miami. (WOOD ON WORDS)

Article excerpt

Valued contributor Kathryn E. Jandeska, who is vice president and editorial director at Paragraphs Design Inc., Chicago, e-mails CW with this bit of non-pilot error:

"A front-page story in this morning's (8/10/00) Chicago Tribune quoted an industry analyst on the United Airlines pilot troubles, as follows:

"'The United Airlines situation has malingered and festered for months.'

"I think what the fellow was trying to say was 'lingered,' not 'malingered,' which, as we know, means 'faking illness.' (Some of those pilots who don't want to work may in fact be faking illness, but that's beside the point.)" My brand-new American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.), about which details in the next screed, supports KEJ's position: malinger intr.v. "To feign illness or other incapacity in order to avoid duty or work. (From French malingre, sickly.}" Malaprop malingered must be clipped.

* ABC Tim Hicks, content strategist aka "The Duke of URL" at TRH Communications in Victoria, B.C., Canada, e-mails the generous observation "I've enjoyed your column (in CW) for a long time." He then gets down to business with "I've been fighting against improper use of 'their' for nearly as long.

"Yesterday I heard a radio announcer give what may have been the definitive example of how you can get in trouble when you mix singular and plural. Reporting that two men had fallen from their boat, he told us that 'neither man had their life jackets on.'

"I immediately pictured one ... wearing two life jackets while the other struggled to stay (afloat)."

I wish you well in your fight, because not all future opponents will present a jaw so vitreous as Captain Radio's. Perhaps his Broadcasting 101 lector abbreviated the lecture designed to remind students that neither is usually singular ... I don't know. But as you are suggesting, he needed to say, "Neither man had his life jacket on" or "The men did not have their life jackets on." (Good news this wasn't a girl/boy item, eh? "Neither person had her or his life jacket on....")

* And our first-ever communication from Elkton, MD, proffers this from reader Par Valdata, president of Cloudstreet Communications, Inc.: "I am curious about when businesses stopped growing and people started growing them. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, grow is an intransitive verb when it means to expand' or 'to gain' or 'to increase in size. …

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