End of October 2 Column (No. 898)
Right Column Redux: Norm Sandler

Grammar Gripes From Geezers

Put together a chat room full of retired and working journalists, and you are likely to hear things like this:

Why do we use “people” instead of ”persons”?  If “people” is better, why don’t we write, “One people was killed today…” etc.

The misuse of “murder” continues to increase.. “Murder” is a legal term and properly is used in an indictment or charge or in a jury verdict. Often murder becomes something less, like “manslaughter.”  I like as a better term, ”slay,” or its derivatives like “slain..

What about "unnamed person" vs "unidentified person." How about the phrase "take a listen?" Often used on television. Or a reply, "That's a good question" to the interviewer.

I have been chafing lately over reporters' misuse of the word "per" when "according to" is meant, as in this example from today's Baltimore Sun:  "Bolden is not licensed to practice in Maryland and needs to co-file all papers with someone who is, per the court’s rules of attorney conduct."

My own peeve: use of the word “over” for “more than,” as in “over a million dollars.” Even the New York Times has caved in on this one.


Clark Smith

My pet peeve is the use of "just don't" instead of "don't just." They have opposite meanings. "Just don't stand there" means do whatever you want, but stand somewhere else. "Don't just stand there" means stand right where you are, but also take some necessary action.

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