usingtherightwords

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Keith Olbermann, Another of My Heroes


Lately, I’ve been watching clips of sportscaster/commentator Keith Olbermann on YouTube. I had forgotten just how well he writes (see: his time on SportsCenter). But it was a particular clip dated July 28, 2014, that caught my attention.

Olbermann, in his nightly “Worst Persons In the Sports World” segment on ESPN2, took to task the person(s) who wrote Greg Maddux’s baseball hall of fame plaque. Olbermann credited NBC’s Craig Calcaterra with discovering most of the errors.

Here, first, is the exact text of Gregory Alan Maddux’s plaque (written in all caps because the plaque is written that way):

ONE OF GAME’S MOST CONSISTENT, COMPOSED AND CELEBRATED STARTING PITCHERS. FIRST TO WIN AT LEAST 15 GAMES IN 17 STRAIGHT SEASONS, EN ROUTE TO 355 CAREER VICTORIES, EIGHTH-MOST ALL-TIME AND THE SECOND-HIGHEST TOTAL SINCE THE 1920S. ONLY HURLER WITH 300 WINS, 3,000 STRIKEOUTS AND LESS THAN 1,000 WALKS. PREPARATION, COMMAND AND STUDY OF BATTERS MADE HIM PART-SCIENTIST, PART-ARTIST, WINNING FOUR STRAIGHT CY YOUNG AWARDS. ALSO CAPTURED 18 GOLD GLOVE AWARDS.

Olbermann began by pointing out that the first five words lacks a “the,” as in “one of the game’s most consistent…” but he sort of excuses it because the earliest plaques are written in the same style.

He then jumps on using a French term (en route) without italics. His next attack is for “less than 1,000 walks.” It should be “fewer than” because “less” is used for, in his words, “stuff that has no more plurals or can’t be counted like, I have less respect for the guy who writes these plaques.”

Next, he turns his attention to the hyphenated words, part-scientist and part-artist, and he correctly — and forcefully, I believe — points out the hyphens aren’t necessary, and by using them, the words mean that Greg Maddux is a scientist specializing in parts (like the guy down at the local auto parts store) and an artist specializing in parts!

If Keith Olbermann didn’t exist, someone would have invented him. Maybe me.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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January 5, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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