When I’m getting dressed I the morning, I often talk back to the newscasters. Yes, I irk easily. Especially when people who make more money than I (even billions more) show that they slept through grammar and sentence construction in every grade they ever reached. Here is a sample of some backtalk that gets my blood running faster than a jog around the block.
“The crook SNEAKED around the corner. SNEAKED. Maybe he SNUCK around the corner in your neighborhood, but he SNEAKED in mine! SNUCK is the sound I think of when someone snorts in mucus just before he shoots out a lunger in your neighborhood!”
“He asked how your automatic fly zipper works. You may NOT begin with, ‘So…’ because you were not in the middle of a sentence, SO please remember that.”
Now this next one goes on all day from the mouths of TV babes to commercials to professionals in all areas. I think some people figure they are identical twins. No. They’re not. FEWER has more letters than LESS. (Or, LESS has FEWER letters than…fewer.) But what’s important is that FEWER is for things you can count singly. There are FEWER coffee grounds in cup A than in cup B. (Yes, I could count them IF I wanted to.) However, I poured LESS coffee in cup B that I did in cup A. Get it? Liquid coffee can’t be counted. Unless you’re filling your cup one drop at a time, in which case, you need more help than I do. In fact, I’m about to give up on constantly explaining this duo and demand of the OED that one of them be banned from the English language. The FEWER words in the English language…the LESS arguing there will be.
And I heard these gems on the TV news this morning:
“…We’ll be discussing the family attacked while sleeping with the police,” (Whoa! Now there’s a law enforcement agency with a good case for slander.) (I hope.) Let’s try: “…We’ll be discussing with police, the family attacked while they slept.”
“When we come back, we’ll talk about the deadly shooting with church leaders.” (Were they in a hot argument about what hymns or Bible verses for Sunday service?) How about: “When we come back, we’ll talk with church leaders about the deadly shooting.”
Okay, for now I’ll let you off with one Andy Rooney imitation, but beware… “I’ll be back!” (I also do a fairly good Arnold!)