usingtherightwords

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The New Yorker also got it Right


When I was a teenager, I recall seeing a commercial for the magazine The New Yorker that raved, “The New Yorker is the best magazine in the world today, possibly the best magazine of all time.” Or something like that. Regardless, it is a highly respected publication.

Wikipedia’s entry about The New Yorker says it’s known for, among many things, “its rigorous fact checking and copyediting.” Even if “copyediting” is two words.

So, imagine my surprise when a networker showed me a copy of the April 24, 2017 issue. On page 72, the sixth page of an article about a South Carolina family that has a tradition of barbecue and white supremacy, a sentence reads, “He explained that he’d got into barbecue as a challenge.”

Whoa. He’d got? Does New York have different rules regarding past participles? It’s he’d gotten.

Or is it?

I typed the sentence into an online grammar check. It came back error-free, but it also flagged it for plagiarism. Funny. It also didn’t flag copyediting as wrong.

I went to grammarist.com and looked up got vs. gotten. It said that gotten is correct in American and Canadian usage, but in England the past participle is usually got.

It continues, “That gotten is primarily used in North America has given rise to the mistaken belief that it is American in origin and hence new and inferior. But gotten is in fact an old form, predating the United States and Canada by several centuries.”

So, I’m right. The New Yorker is right. I can live with that.

Thanks to Richard C. for the idea.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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May 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The “Backyard” Gang Met in the “Back Yard”


It’s summer, and that means barbecues, pool parties and other fun behind houses.

So, remember that back yard or backyard can be the noun referring to the place to the rear of the house but still on the same property, where much of the fun takes place.

Still, why use two words when one will do? Some style books require it.

But if you want an adjective, it’s one word.

Now, excuse me while I attend to my steaks cooking on my backyard grill. My, do they smell good!

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

 

July 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s BARBECUE!!!!!!


Maybe it’s because it’s raining hard as I write this, and I miss the smell of steaks grilling over an open fire, or maybe it’s because I saw on “Let’s Make A Deal” a word caption announcing the contestant had just won a new barbeque and the word snob in me awoke with a fury.

There is only one way to spell this word: barbecue. Not barbeque, which would be pronounced BAR-buh-keh; not bar-b-q and not bar-b-que.

The word dates back to 1690 by my dictionary, and nowhere in the entry does it say “also barbeque.” That’s more than 400 years with only one spelling.

Barbecue. Barbecue. Barbecue. Barbecue. Barbecue.

Got it? Good. (I hope you can hear the angry George Carlin voice.)

Now leave me alone. My steaks await — await for drier conditions.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

April 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment