Normally, I try not to nitpick grammar when I’m reading.
- I’ve given up trying to convince people that the past tense of the verb to lead is actually led.
- The indiscriminate (and incorrect) use of then and than barely fazes me anymore.
- Commas, well, the fight for their proper use is a lost cause at the best of times.
However, I get really miffed when professional writers (yes, they get paid) consistently make careless errors.
What set me off this time was the misuse of compliment when people meant complement. Seriously? How hard is it to remember that the “e” version is used when you mean something completes something? Otherwise you’re just saying something nice or giving away swag.
There were four stories last week – in such online publications as the New York Post and Forbes – that had it wrong. One story had it incorrect multiple times! Those were just the ones I tripped across.
That was the spark that ignited my latest explosion.
A piece on The Hockey Writers (my underlining) blog said a player was doing well but needed to “flush out his game.” Does that mean get rid of everything the player knows and start again? Or did the “writer” mean the player should flesh out his game? If you’re going to use an idiom, use it correctly.
Speaking of using words correctly, here is an item I came across in a South Carolina daily:
A pedestrian was killed Tuesday night after colliding with a car on U.S. 21 just south of Rock Hill, state troopers said.
Now, the verb “collide” indicates that its subject is in motion toward what it eventually hits. This gives the unfortunate impression that the pedestrian ran toward the vehicle.
What about this sentence from a long-time sports writer at the New York Post?
The Rangers created numerous glorious opportunities off turnovers in the offensive zone and neutral zone forced by pressure and off quick puck movement off the rush.
Huh? I follow hockey, and I still can’t understand this sentence.
If you’re a professional writer, put some effort into making your writing correct and clear. Otherwise, for heaven’s sake (not to mention the sanity of thousands of grammar geeks), get yourself a good copy editor!