Saturday, September 26, 2015

Usage - amid/against a backdrop

First, I want to point you to an excellent investigation by the Post and Courier of Charleston and the Center for Public integrity into spending by S.C. legislators and candidates.

But I also wanted to point out a usage issue in this sentence because I increasingly hear and read it:

Amid this backdrop, The Post and Courier/Center for Public Integrity's investigation found questionable spending under the state's ethics laws to be pervasive and unrelated to party affiliation or geography.

The preferred phrase is "against this backdrop." That's the point, the backdrop is literally or figuratively in back of the thing projected against it. You're not in the middle of it.

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