Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Mull (over) this ...

Mull is one of those words headline writers love. After all, it's only 3 1/2 counts. And just as often as it's used, it's poorly used. Consider this headline from my local paper today:

Justices mull bans on mail-order wine

Unless those justices were bent on producing mead, that mull really should be mull over.

The preferred usage of mull when meaning to cogitate or ponder is with over. Mull by itself more correctly means to sweeten or spice (you mull cider, for instance).

There was room for the change in the hed above, one of those centered heds that doesn't fill the line, the kind of which I am none too fond. There were easily two spaces on either side, and the order could have been changed to "mail-order wine bans," thus freeing up more space for a less-trite word such as ponder or consider.


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