Some Matters of Usage

Three ” problems” (perhaps) to interest or entertain you for a bit:

(1)  I went lol as I read Nancy Armour’s AP story about the new record for NFL futility established yesterday by the Detroit Lions, my home town team when I was living in Detroit and working on my Master’s degree at Wayne State University (a fine school, I might add).

Ms. Armour’s quotation from comments made by Lions fan Adam Gadsby (who drove eight hours from Michigan to Green Bay to see the Packers win 31-21) were about as colorful as the New Orleans fans used to be in commenting on their hometown team by referring to them as “Aints” and wearing paper bags to conceal their identities (this was at the time that a young man played safety who was the son of Kansas friends of ours).

Mr. Gadsby said this, or at least approximately, according to Ms. Armour:  “As a Lions fan, we’re used to them stinking. . . . But they’ve never stunk as well as they’re stinking this year.”  Priceless.  Mr. Gadsby obviously knows his verbs and he also knows that “glory” is something that the Lions have little or nothing of (see Humpty-Dumpty again).

Now here are a couple of sentences I’ve come across lately in print that may well be challenged or condemned for misusage in the context or at least formal English:

(2)  From the December 27 “Observer” in the column titled “Animal Matters”:  “My dog has no interest in laying on the couch now.”

(3)  From the January 2009 “National Geographic” (one of the best-edited print publications of our time) in a feature article about Polar explorer Fridtjoj Nansen:  “Nansen was a strapping blond man,  fair complected, with a frosty stare and a truculent face that seemed slightly at odds with the refinements of his intellect.”

So pick your poison and let me know what you think about the usage in any or all of these sentences.



One Response to “Some Matters of Usage”

  1. Nick Jenkins Says:

    As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

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