Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The (mis) Use of English Today , revisited

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * Warning ! Curmudgeon Alert *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 

Long time readers know that I find it interesting -- OK... "disturbing" -- how often people don’t really say what they think they are saying, witness a couple of my recent posts regarding the unfortunate wording of newspaper headlines

One of the things that I have noticed lately in everyday speech and, regrettably, in the media as well, is way that people now tend to choose odd – or at least confusing – sentence constructions when making “negative” statements.  When I hear one of these statements I just want to shout out, “No, No, No, that’s not what you mean!”

For example, on the news this morning one of the field reporters made a comment that went something to the effect:

Everyone in the car was not injured.”

For the sake of argument, let’s say that there were 4 people in the car.  That makes this statement true if one, two or even three people actually did receive injuries.  Think about it.  As long as there was at least one person in the car who escaped unscathed, "not everyone was injured" so the statement is still correct.  It is only incorrect if all four occupants were hurt. 

I don’t know for certain but I’m betting that what the reporter really meant to say was:

 “No one in the car was injured.”

It is as if people don’t want to start a sentence with a “negative” word, so they hide it at the end. 

I predict that if you pay attention, you will hear a statement like this at least once during the rest of your day and, more likely, multiple times.

One for the Bench

“The best mind-altering drug is truth.”

‘Til next time…keep makin’ chips and protecting the “King’s English” :-)

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