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Archive for Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Preferred usage

April 13, 2004

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To the editor:

This is a different letter from the usual ones about the war, the deficit, high taxes, zoning, schools and the government. Is grammar taught in schools anymore? The glaring misuse of our language appears in print, on radio and television. Journalists, speakers, officials who should know better are remiss. An epidemic of language corruption worsens every day evidenced by "different than," "seems like," "feels like," "try (or tries) and," the endless use of the word "like." "Hopefully" just hangs in midair relating to nothing and screams for remedy: I hope, you, he, she, we, they ... hope. Or, one hopes, we're hoping, they're hoping and so forth, are usages that are music to one's ears. A book was written some time ago entitled "Use No Hopefully Here" by a noted journalist. I loaned it to a friend and hence the loan, inadvertently, became a gift!

Being grammatically smug is one thing. Deliberate departure from the standard is style, color and perfectly fine when one knows the difference from right and wrong usage.

The above examples are but a drop in the bucket; there are too many of such. Language is powerful and precious. It's been said Winston Churchill used the English language as a weapon in World War II. He fired the British iron resolve to withstand and ultimately win out over the destructive onslaughts of Hitler's Third Reich. Good usage of our language is always a delight. Would there were more of it.

Sue Hess,

Lawrence

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