usingtherightwords

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“Permanent” Head Coach?


I read the news today, oh boy, about a lucky man who made the grade …

I write about Clay Helton, who today was named “permanent head coach” of the USC football team. This is the first time I’ve seen the word permanent used. Usually, the reports would say that the coach had the “interim” label removed and he’s now “head coach.”

But is permanent correct?

The word means “continuing or enduring without fundamental or marked change.” A synonym is lasting, so I looked up lasting. It means “existing or continuing a long while.”

There also is a usage note that says lasting and permanent imply continuing indefinitely.

It appears the words are correctly used. But I have a problem with this. In coaching, nothing is permanent and nothing is indefinite. The coach works under a contract that, among other things, lists the years he is expected to do the job. If he does it well (and what that means varies), he receives a new contract that again lists the years. If he falls short (whatever that means), he is fired or the contract is not renewed (which to me doesn’t mean fired, but that’s another post for another day). Goodbye permanent, goodbye indefinite and goodbye lasting.

Reminds me of what the great Vin Scully once said: “Andre Dawson has a bruised knee and is listed as day-to-day. Aren’t we all?”

Until next time! Use the right words!

It’s here! My début book, “If You Experience Death, Please Call: And Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language” is out and available on Amazon. Order now for just $14.95. Contact me on my website to reserve your copy or Order here.

leebarnathan.com

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November 30, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,

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