Sunday, March 13, 2005

Some other not-so-bon mots

A few other selected things that really should not have gotten past a desk:

  • A paper told me it looked in-depth into legislators' campaign finances. While it may have taken an in-depth look, it looked in depth. The adjective and adverb forms are rarely both hyphenated.
  • Later on it told me: Each of the groups donating wanted to get a lawmaker elected or had an agenda they hoped lawmakers would follow. The operative word is each, and it takes a singular pronoun. And why do we need "of the." Ditching that makes it abundantly clear: Each group donating wanted to get a lawmaker elected or had an agenda it hoped lawmakers would follow.
  • From the Atlanta story: Sheriff Myron Freeman said he could not speak about the standard procedures for escorting prisoners in the courthouse and could not say what kind of holster had been issued to the deputy, etc. No reporter, or that reporter's editor, should let "could not" go unchallenged. Perhaps he "would not"; that gets to his own free-will decision. Saying he "could not" implies some outside factor or force keeping him from doing it. If so, readers have a right to know. If not, readers have a right to have the correct terms used.

On the other hand, while I am no fan of the word "located," often finding it superflously dropped into copy (located at the corner of ... when "at the corner of" would do just nicely, or located 50 miles from -- try simply "50 miles from"), I did come across one of those cases where it was used well:
The city of 50,000 located 60 miles southwest of Atlanta ...
In this case, it keeps those numbers from running into each other.


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