Wednesday, July 15, 2009

When good words go bad

I've decided the modern world is rubbish - at least when it comes to the English language.

Everything I was taught when I started out as a journalist now seems to be forgotten - and Samuel Pepys was a damned good lecturer.

For example, I was always told that despite its constant erroneous usage, the word 'myriad' is an adjective not a noun. For years I have subbed out 'a myriad of' to be replaced by simply 'myriad'.

Now, dictionaries are listing myriad as a noun, as well as an adjective, so common has the error become. And I'm not happy about it.

Likewise the constant use of 'try and' instead of 'try to' which is almost always the correct form. Some of the worst offenders are presenters and reporters on the BBC, who, quite simply, should know better.

And the same can also be said for broadcasters' use of 'due to' instead of 'because of' (or 'owing to') when not modifying a noun.

My first editor would turn in his grave; if he were dead that is . . . which he isn't. He lives on the Isle of Wight, which may be considered the same thing.

Yes, I know I'm a grammar pedant. And an anorak. And possibly even have too much time on my hands. But the English language is such a beautiful thing it seems a pity to allow sloppiness to ruin it.

*This rant can be considered an application for the BBC's excellent Grumpy Old Men

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