Ya Gotta Proofread.Ya Gotta Listen; Don't Launch Your Mortar at the Foe. (Wood on Words)

By Wood, Alden | Communication World, June-July 2003 | Go to article overview

Ya Gotta Proofread.Ya Gotta Listen; Don't Launch Your Mortar at the Foe. (Wood on Words)


Wood, Alden, Communication World


Ya gotta proofread...ya gotta listen! Valued stepdaughter Pamela, far more a financial pro than an editorial type, was nevertheless quick to report the following "from CNN's obituary of Joseph Coors":

"Born and raised in Golden on November 12, 1917, Coors was educated in public schools."

My contributor inquired, "Really? He was both born AND raised on November 12, 1917? That must have been something to see!"

Such strangelings continue to appear with distressing frequency. A second glance here would have produced "Born in Golden on 11/12/17 and raised (wherever)...." which is what CNN's writer was reaching for.

The lead in PR WEEK's 2/10/03 issue covered the flight of an American Airlines exec to Dell. The antepenultimate paragraph told readers about "the ramifications of September 11 and the economic blight of the airline industry."

If it walks like a blight and talks like a blight it could still be a plight: if the writer indeed meant blight, trade that of for an on. Listen.., but do not spell by ear.

PR WEEK's 3/10/03 issue laid its own egg in its Media Roundup department atop page 12: Noting media efforts to inform the public about domestic security issues, writer David Ward said in his second sentence that "News outlets both large and large and small have raced to do follow-up stories that not only keep the average American aware of the latest homeland-security issues, but also to put those developments in perspective."

Somehow I'm sure writer Ward said "News outlets both large and small,..." omitting the careless repeat of large. I expect he also wrote "(follow-up stories) that not only keep (everyone aware) but also put (developments in perspective)." Omit the infinitive to put to effect parallelism: "follow-up stories that not only keep, but also put...."

On page 163 of Dr. Robin Cook's scary Y2K medical thriller, "Abduction," one reads:

"'I'm not talking about elevator music,' Richard shouted back at Arak. 'I mean something with base and a beat....'"

The same error appeared in a reprise two sentences further along in the chunky paperback:

"The music had more base and a beat. …

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