Thursday, August 10, 2006

Demons are often summoned ...

Mention it one day, it pops up somewhere the next. Such is the great game of participial whack-a-mole that is copy editing.

Anyway, re:

Pair acquitted in killing Pee Dee woman now face federal charges

No, you can't be "acquitted in killing" somebody. You can be acquitted of killing her, or acquitted in the killing (or in her death), but not acquitted in killing her.

While we're at it, time for all good persons and true to join the campaign against "face up to" in cop tales. Here's the proximate cause:

If convicted of the robbery charges from earlier this year, Clarett could face up to 26 years in prison, including six mandatory years for using a weapon.

... but you can find dozens from the past week alone without breaking much of a sweat. Trouble is, "face up" is already a phrasal verb, meaning "confront." It's not an implausible meaning, but if you're meaning to convey the maximum sentence, it's confusing. Why not dump the cliche altogether: faces a maximum sentence of 26 years in prison or could face 26 years in prison?


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