usingtherightwords

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Did Obama Really Say That?


As I listened to the news on the radio last week, the local CBS station promoted that weekend’s “60 Minutes” in which President Obama and outgoing Secretary of State Clinton sat down together for an interview. The station played a clip, and I thought I heard the president say,  “I think that Hillary will go down as one of the finest Secretary of States we’ve had.”

Wait a minute, I thought, did I really hear that correctly?

The day the segment aired, I heard the same promo. Again, the president said,  “I think that Hillary will go down as one of the finest Secretary of States we’ve had.”

The next day, I found the clip online, and once again the president said,  “I think that Hillary will go down as one of the finest Secretary of States we’ve had.”

Wikipedia also has made this mistake. I can understand that, but Obama? I couldn’t believe it, and still don’t. Here we have an incredibly bright, thoughtful and articulate man making a common mistake: Secretary of States.

The correct term is Secretaries of State.

It appeared that Obama forgot that you pluralize the subject. Just like with passers-by.

Clearly, the president thought of “Secretary of State” as one complete entity. But there are so many other secretaries in his cabinet (Defense, Interior, Treasury, Agriculture, Energy, Justice, Commerce, Labor, Transportation, Education, etc.). Also, of  is a preposition or adverb, and those parts of speech are not sentence subjects.

Obviously, there needs to be an additional cabinet position: Secretary of Using the Right Words.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

 

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January 28, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What a Bunch of Malarkey!


Don’t you just love swear words? They transcend generations. I know my parents heard/used some of the same ones I know/use.

As s a child, I realized quickly that “shoot” and “fudge” were words used in place of swear words. I also thought some words were swear words that really weren’t.

In my not-fully-developed brain, I thought any word that people sputtered to say was a swear word. So, when an angry person shouted, “What a bunch of malarkey!” I thought malarkey was a swear word. No one used it very often, so it must have been bad, I reasoned.

Of course, I found out as I aged (and my brain matured) that it’s not a swear word. So then I thought that malarkey was not a real word but used in place of a swear word. Again, I didn’t hear it very much, I reasoned, so it couldn’t be a real word.

Now, as an adult, I have a list of confusing words, and malarkey is on it. People sometimes forget the e and spell it malarky, which is wrong.

In context, I thought the word means “nonsense.”  I finally looked it up. It means “insincere or foolish talk.”

I hope no one thinks this blog is full of malarkey.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

 

January 3, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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