Friday, December 30, 2005

Hypercorrect follies

Hypercorrection is the fine art of making a mistake by trying too hard not to make one -- traditionally, something like choosing "whom" over "who" because "whom" seems to have so much more grammar in it. Two examples from a Major Southeastern Daily today point up the dangers of choosing the ornate form when the simpler one is correct:

A 12-year-old boy with a rifle, encouraged by his grandfather, shot and killed a hunter whom they thought was a deer, officials said.

Turn the relative clause, "whom they thought was a deer," into a complete sentence and you'll see the problem: "They thought him was a deer." No, them didn't. Make it "a hunter who they thought was a deer."

If the tree were at fault, it would be the second such case in a week in Charlotte.

Use the subjunctive for conditions contrary to fact: "If I were pope, I would excommunicate anyone who writes a 'Christmas came early' hed" (the storied Gus Harwell makes his classes hum "If I Were a Rich Man"). In this case, as long as we're buying into the whole malignant-anthropomorphic-Christmas-tree thing, stick with the indicative: "If the tree was at fault ..."

Figure the next verb out for yourselves.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to have a coffee mug I called my copy editor's mug. There was a cartoon turkey on it, and it read "This is my mug. Do not take it or steal it. I don't care whom you are." Man, I miss that mug.

11:16 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger fev said...

Somebody ought to reissue that one and flog it at the ACES convention. That, and maybe we can get Ray to rerun the TEAM IS AN IT T-shirts.

The coffee mug I miss had a 3-dollar bill with Nixon's picture on it. My mom (lifelong Republican) gave it to me when I went off to college.

11:14 AM, December 31, 2005  
Anonymous nicole bogdas said...

my favorite mug:

1:59 AM, January 04, 2006  
Blogger fev said...

I keep waiting for that guy to get his own talk show on Fox. He'd be great.

6:17 PM, January 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

runescape money runescape gold runescape money buy runescape gold buy runescape money runescape money runescape gold wow power leveling wow powerleveling Warcraft Power Leveling Warcraft PowerLeveling buy runescape gold buy runescape money runescape itemsrunescape accounts runescape gp dofus kamas buy dofus kamas Guild Wars Gold buy Guild Wars Gold lotro gold buy lotro gold lotro gold buy lotro gold lotro gold buy lotro gold runescape money runescape power leveling runescape money runescape gold dofus kamas cheap runescape money cheap runescape gold Hellgate Palladium Hellgate London Palladium Hellgate money Tabula Rasa gold tabula rasa money Tabula Rasa Credit Tabula Rasa Credits Hellgate gold Hellgate London gold wow power leveling wow powerleveling Warcraft PowerLeveling Warcraft Power Leveling World of Warcraft PowerLeveling World of Warcraft Power Leveling runescape power leveling runescape powerleveling eve isk eve online isk eve isk eve online isk tibia gold Fiesta Silver Fiesta Gold
Age of Conan Gold
buy Age of Conan Gold
aoc gold

china tour
beijing tour
beijing travel
china tour
tibet tour
tibet travel
computer monitoring software
employee monitoring

11:27 PM, December 30, 2008  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home