Monday, June 28, 2010

Christmas cometh not early

Two things:

1) There really are rules of English! One of them says that when all that grammary stuff moves to the auxiliary, it doesn't stay on the main verb too. The future of "this hed bites" is "this hed will bite," not "this hed will bites." You can say "the taxman cometh," but not "he will cometh."

2) You can, but you wouldn't, because -- it's official; call it the first sign of spring -- see if you can guess what brilliant, heartbreakingly original idea occurs to hed writers every spring, along with most summers and the occasional autumn:

The taxman cometh for private-equity's bigwigs.
(New York Post, May 21)

Taxman cometh -- but not for 41% of NYers
(New York Post, April 14)

The health care taxman cometh
Senate Democrats plan to tax the middle class
(Washington Times, Oct. 5)

Taxman cometh
Hard-pressed politicians produce flood of irritating revenue streams
(Washington Times, Sept. 28)

Taxman cometh
Obama plan targets top earners
(The Oklahoman, Aug. 3, 2008)

Taxman cometh?
Potential six-figure hit dulls Intercontinental's offering for the CBOT
(Crain's Chicago Business, June 2007)

Funds eye IPOs
(New York Post, June 21, 2007)

The Internet taxman cometh
(Washington Times, April 25, 2007)

It's every parent's worst nightmare to find these things by thousands, so in a way it's refreshing to report that -- except for the right-wing press and business pubs -- it's not as widespread as we feared. Still, that's not an excuse for indulging. Pencil "taxman cometh" into your stylebooks under Cliches I Should Be Eaten By Rabid Bears If I Use.

And if you must, get the damn grammar right. It'll give us something nice to tell your family about as the slavering jaws close 'round your head.

Labels: ,


Blogger John Cowan said...

The postman only ringeth twice, also.

4:19 PM, June 28, 2010  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

I was watching the DVD of Leverage season 2 last night. On the commentary of "The Iceman Job" - the one where Hardison, who always takes his con-characters way over the top, ends up in deep trouble because he's promoted his alter-ego, "The Iceman", as the greatest thief in the world. The director said she convinced the actor to proclaim, in his first in-character's-character entrance, "The Iceman cometh!"

Of course, she added, the actor, who's only 22, had no idea where it came from...

4:33 PM, June 28, 2010  
Blogger fev said...

I thought the postman rang three times. He knocketh twice on the pipe if the answer is no.

8:45 PM, June 28, 2010  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home