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  #1  
Old Today, 06:57 AM
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What grammatical error is this?

Examples:
"My brother, he wants to....."
"Professor Jones, he believes...."
"The city council, they ruled in favor of...."

We have a new street reporter that repeatedly uses this sentence structure in her news stories. It drives me nuts, but I have no idea what "rule" she is breaking. Can anyone help me with this?

Also, everything is "Literally this...," or "literally that...." The word "literally" is very overused and misused in news reporting these days, it seems to me.

In my mind, TV news reporters, newspaper writers, and those in similar occupations are professionals, and should practice proper language usage for the rest of us to learn from. Am I expecting too much?

Other examples of things that bother me that I hear from our news professionals are:
"Me and my co-writer..."
"There are less choices today vs. what we had....." I site this as an example of the improper use of "less," and "fewer."

Is anyone else here bothered by these things? What other things bother you when you watch or listen to news reporting today?
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  #2  
Old Today, 07:14 AM
Autoputzer Autoputzer is offline
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That's so whacky that I don't think there's a rule yet. I'm curious though. I need to dig under my bed and find the Little, Brown Handbook.

I'm supposed to be an engineer. But, I spend most of my time writing code or writing about code and other people's engineering work. 25 years ago my employer sent me to a "simple writing course." A summary of what I learned is "Every document, chapter, paragraph, sentence, and word should be as short as possible, but as long as necessary." That is almost opposite of what is taught in just about any college writing course. Every time I write something, I walk away from it and then come back later to see what I can cut out while still retaining all of the content.

Somebody tried to get an ordnance passed to shut down the topless bars where I used to live. The title of the story in the news paper was "County Commissioners Dancing Around Topless Issue."
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  #3  
Old Today, 07:22 AM
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Redundant pronoun.


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  #4  
Old Today, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdsbuc View Post
Examples:
"My brother, he wants to....."
"Professor Jones, he believes...."
"The city council, they ruled in favor of...."

We have a new street reporter that repeatedly uses this sentence structure in her news stories. It drives me nuts, but I have no idea what "rule" she is breaking. Can anyone help me with this?

Also, everything is "Literally this...," or "literally that...." The word "literally" is very overused and misused in news reporting these days, it seems to me.

In my mind, TV news reporters, newspaper writers, and those in similar occupations are professionals, and should practice proper language usage for the rest of us to learn from. Am I expecting too much?

Other examples of things that bother me that I hear from our news professionals are:
"Me and my co-writer..."
"There are less choices today vs. what we had....." I site this as an example of the improper use of "less," and "fewer."

Is anyone else here bothered by these things? What other things bother you when you watch or listen to news reporting today?
The one that really bugs me is site instead of cite.



I don't know if the first examples are breaking a specific rule, but it sure sounds awkward.

I agree with your expectation for journalists to use proper grammar, but it's going by the wayside. Proper copy editors are being replaced by MS Word, even at place like the NY Times and other large papers. I've seen so many blatant errors or lazy writing in the NYT I've almost completely stopped reading it. There was a political article with a serious tone that said Obama and German Chancellor Merkel had become BFFs of sort. I just about lost it on that one...

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  #5  
Old Today, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autoputzer View Post
That's so whacky that I don't think there's a rule yet. I'm curious though. I need to dig under my bed and find the Little, Brown Handbook.

I'm supposed to be an engineer. But, I spend most of my time writing code or writing about code and other people's engineering work. 25 years ago my employer sent me to a "simple writing course." A summary of what I learned is "Every document, chapter, paragraph, sentence, and word should be as short as possible, but as long as necessary." That is almost opposite of what is taught in just about any college writing course. Every time I write something, I walk away from it and then come back later to see what I can cut out while still retaining all of the content.
We constantly use the phrase "if I had more time I would have written a shorter letter". Still holds true.
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  #6  
Old Today, 08:08 AM
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That'd make me nuts as there is no reason to use a pronoun in those sentences.

The one that infuriates me as it's in sports writing and announcing, "X person is as a good as any wide receiver in the NFL." Um... they mean it as a compliment but they're saying that person is just as good as everybody else which is not a compliment.

"Megratron is as good as any receiver in the NFL today."
"Megratron is as bad as any receiver in the NFL today."
"Megratron is as good as the best receivers in the NFL today." <--- that's a compliment

Using the word "any" in an "as good as" phrase negates the compliment. Peyton Manning is not as good as any QB in football. He's among the best. He's better than most. He's a top 2 or 3 QB. But saying he's as good as any QB, well that's a slap in the face to the guy (not a Manning fan but I hear that nonsense phrase too often).

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  #7  
Old Today, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autoputzer View Post
I'm supposed to be an engineer. But, I spend most of my time writing code or writing about code and other people's engineering work. 25 years ago my employer sent me to a "simple writing course." A summary of what I learned is "Every document, chapter, paragraph, sentence, and word should be as short as possible, but as long as necessary." That is almost opposite of what is taught in just about any college writing course.
Sounds like my sig line,,,


Many years ago I took a course called clear technical writing. Probably the most important course of my graduate career.
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  #8  
Old Today, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdsbuc View Post

What other things bother you when you watch or listen to news reporting today?
In general...

Who vs whom

Good vs well


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  #9  
Old Today, 11:11 AM
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Straight from the Houston Chronicle, and it is not unlike all other news organizations...

A man was taken into custody Thursday after he allegedly damaged property at Lakewood Church.
The date Thursday is misplaced, and it has become commonly acceptable in journalism.
The correct sentence structure, at least when I learned it in high school is...
Thursday, a man was taken into custody after he allegedly damaged property at Lakewood Church.

I like English journalism. It is clear and straight to the point. Check out BBC Europe...
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28972878
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  #10  
Old Today, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autoputzer View Post

Somebody tried to get an ordnance passed to shut down the topless bars where I used to live. The title of the story in the news paper was "County Commissioners Dancing Around Topless Issue."
Headlines can be really entertaining, although some are just awful.
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  #11  
Old Today, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeemerMikeTX View Post
Redundant pronoun.
Perfect! After I posted and left the forum, I thought about this some more and realized that the redundancy was what was bothering me; this and the fact that my elementary school teachers, so many years ago, drilled it into our little heads not to do it. Calling this error a redundant pronoun fills the bill for me.
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  #12  
Old Today, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E36 Phantom View Post
The one that really bugs me is site instead of cite.

LOL, I knew that I would fu*k up somehow when I wrote the post. There's the irony of it, right? Well, I'm not a professional writer, which should be easy to detect. Beyond that, my spelling sucks, LOL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by E36 Phantom View Post
I don't know if the first examples are breaking a specific rule, but it sure sounds awkward.

I agree with your expectation for journalists to use proper grammar, but it's going by the wayside. Proper copy editors are being replaced by MS Word, even at place like the NY Times and other large papers. I've seen so many blatant errors or lazy writing in the NYT I've almost completely stopped reading it. There was a political article with a serious tone that said Obama and German Chancellor Merkel had become BFFs of sort. I just about lost it on that one...

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  #13  
Old Today, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brkf View Post
That'd make me nuts as there is no reason to use a pronoun in those sentences.

The one that infuriates me as it's in sports writing and announcing, "X person is as a good as any wide receiver in the NFL." Um... they mean it as a compliment but they're saying that person is just as good as everybody else which is not a compliment.

"Megratron is as good as any receiver in the NFL today."
"Megratron is as bad as any receiver in the NFL today."
"Megratron is as good as the best receivers in the NFL today." <--- that's a compliment

Using the word "any" in an "as good as" phrase negates the compliment. Peyton Manning is not as good as any QB in football. He's among the best. He's better than most. He's a top 2 or 3 QB. But saying he's as good as any QB, well that's a slap in the face to the guy (not a Manning fan but I hear that nonsense phrase too often).
I agree. Journalism in general seems not so good these days. Sports journalism is even worse.
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  #14  
Old Today, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailinSand View Post
In general...

Who vs whom

Good vs well


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Well Sandy, I have to admit that I struggle with who and whom on occasion. Good vs. well really bugs me too. That thought leads me to the general blurring of adjectives and adverbs these days...
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  #15  
Old Today, 11:57 AM
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In college I offered to proof a colleague's paper. He was a journalism major. I had a field day. I then learned that writing copy offers different 'rules' or acceptable norms than those by which we normally abide. The similar is true at different levels for a varied number of peer audiences like law, medical, and extremely technical submissions.

But we should be clear: This forum and ones like it are none of those. Writing so that your audience clearly understands what you intend shows a respect that is normally returned.
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  #16  
Old Today, 12:02 PM
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That writing, it is unpleasant for me.

No but hey, it's strange, but if someone composed a sentence: 'but speaking of the mayor, isn't he some kind of ass-hat?', wouldn't sound real awkward in spoken conversation but written, not so good. But if you just said: 'the mayor, isn't he . . . ', that would be worse.
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Old Today, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mdsbuc View Post
Well Sandy, I have to admit that I struggle with who and whom on occasion. Good vs. well really bugs me too. That thought leads me to the general blurring of adjectives and adverbs these days...
Who and whom is easy: Who is a subject and whom is an object.

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  #18  
Old Today, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave 330i View Post
Straight from the Houston Chronicle, and it is not unlike all other news organizations...

A man was taken into custody Thursday after he allegedly damaged property at Lakewood Church.
The date Thursday is misplaced, and it has become commonly acceptable in journalism.
The correct sentence structure, at least when I learned it in high school is...
Thursday, a man was taken into custody after he allegedly damaged property at Lakewood Church.

I like English journalism. It is clear and straight to the point. Check out BBC Europe...
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28972878
I've noticed this frequent use of "allegedly" in current journalism too. I wonder if the news agencies say this just to cover their rear ends, from a legal standpoint. We have a county Sheriff from a neighboring county who is on the air all the time. He never uses the word and always comes out and says, "We arrested "so and so" today for dealing meth. If you do this in my county, we'll arrest you too." Folks around her love Sheriff Grady Judd!
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  #19  
Old Today, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by PropellerHead View Post
Who and whom is easy: Who is a subject and whom is an object.

Perfect. That will help me for the rest of the day. Tomorrow, I'm not so sure about...
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Old Today, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mdsbuc View Post
I've noticed this frequent use of "allegedly" in current journalism too. I wonder if the news agencies say this just to cover their rear ends, from a legal standpoint. We have a county Sheriff from a neighboring county who is on the air all the time. He never uses the word and always comes out and says, "We arrested "so and so" today for dealing meth. If you do this in my county, we'll arrest you too." Folks around her love Sheriff Grady Judd!
They arrested the guy is a statement of fact. In making they arrest they allege he did something wrong. The newspaper is correct, he is alleged to have done something until it is proven he did it.


Anyway, the one that bugs me is when people say "The point is mute". The expression is "The point is moot" and it means the point is of no real significance and is really only of interest for purely argumentative reasons.
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  #21  
Old Today, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave 330i View Post
Straight from the Houston Chronicle, and it is not unlike all other news organizations...

A man was taken into custody Thursday after he allegedly damaged property at Lakewood Church.
The date Thursday is misplaced, and it has become commonly acceptable in journalism.
The correct sentence structure, at least when I learned it in high school is...
Thursday, a man was taken into custody after he allegedly damaged property at Lakewood Church.

I like English journalism. It is clear and straight to the point. Check out BBC Europe...
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28972878
My immediate reaction:

Thursday, a man was taken into custody after allegedly damaging property at Lakewood Church...
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  #22  
Old Today, 03:12 PM
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mdsbuc - Are you watching Fox News?

I like the redundant pronoun definition - it suggests the reporter might have a Spanish background, or may have been taught by someone with a Spanish background...

I have a Strunk & White's Elements of Style at home. I'll see if I can find a specific rule described in there.
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Old Today, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by gjwilson View Post
They arrested the guy is a statement of fact. In making they arrest they allege he did something wrong. The newspaper is correct, he is alleged to have done something until it is proven he did it.


Anyway, the one that bugs me is when people say "The point is mute". The expression is "The point is moot" and it means the point is of no real significance and is really only of interest for purely argumentative reasons.
Often the criminal is caught "red handed" in the act. Legally he is innocent until proven guilty. But, in the real world the criminal didn't allegedly commit the act, he committed it. I've seen cases where the act is caught on video tape, then broadcast during the news program by the Sheriff's office. The Sheriff is bold enough to say that this guy committed this act and it's subsequently reported by the news reporter as an alleged act. LOL, this is B.S.
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  #24  
Old Today, 03:33 PM
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mdsbuc - Are you watching Fox News?
Hell no, at least not the national broadcasts. I do watch the local affiliate on occasion, which is a bit less biased.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_m5 View Post
I like the redundant pronoun definition - it suggests the reporter might have a Spanish background, or may have been taught by someone with a Spanish background...

I have a Strunk & White's Elements of Style at home. I'll see if I can find a specific rule described in there.
The reporter that has gotten my dander up on this redundant pronoun usage is young, just out of college. She does have a specific ethnicity that I won't get into. I don't think that ethnic background is the issue, as I'm seeing this done by a variety of personalities, from varying backgrounds.
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Old Today, 06:17 PM
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cwsqbm cwsqbm is offline
Dreaming of Track Days
Location: Somewhere in the aether
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 10,048
Mein Auto: ED'd 330Ci / E30 325i
So much of what is said by on-air radio and TV personalities is just filler.

What annoys me is the use of the word "break" instead of "brake" on car forums.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdsbuc View Post
I've noticed this frequent use of "allegedly" in current journalism too. I wonder if the news agencies say this just to cover their rear ends, from a legal standpoint. We have a county Sheriff from a neighboring county who is on the air all the time. He never uses the word and always comes out and says, "We arrested "so and so" today for dealing meth. If you do this in my county, we'll arrest you too." Folks around her love Sheriff Grady Judd!
The news reporter has to cover their ass because they are reporting on information second hand and could be sued for slander if wrong. The sheriff, on the other hand, is stating first hand a fact. Being arrested and being guilty aren't the same thing, so the sheriff isn't worried about being sued for slander. Note, the sheriff didn't say "Mr. So and So was dealing meth."
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