Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Excuse me, your dialect is showing

Found this sentence in my morning paper of a few days ago tracing the shrinking of a once-mighty company in the Carolinas:

The moves have shook Springs' S.C. ties.

Copy desks need to watch for such things. In my Webster's New World and in Merriam-Webster's, shook as a past participle is defined chiefly as dialectical. Now, some folks may use that here, but the widely accepted past participle -- you know, that thing that goes with helping verbs like has and have -- is shown as shaken.

Getting the idiom right, too

While we're at it, let's point out that idiomatic constructions require attending to as well. Here is another exhibit from the same package of stories:

But lifting of textile quotas around 2000 -- and the granting of China as "most-favored nation" trade status -- washed away those business models.

Ok, if you're playing along at home, as FEV likes to say, pay attention to what's between those dashes. Does that sound tinny? It sure should. You don't grant a country "as" something else. You grant "to" the country that elusive status:

and the granting to China of "most-favored nation" trade status ...

Or, if you were going to do it in more conversational English, a worthy goal:

and the granting of "most-favored nation" trade status to China ...

Today's words to edit by: Get your prepositions right, and the world will be your oyster.

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At 12/1/06, 3:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

business is misspelled.

At 12/1/06, 12:30 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Thanks. Always happy for a second set of eyes,


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