Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Love the Smell of Grammar in the Morning. It Smells Like "I" before "E" except after "C"

Everyone who knows me knows I have a bete noir. And no it's not Pussycat Oliver, who is black as sin but sweet as pie. (Note to self: Next post should be on dead metaphor.)

My bete noir is the construction "honing in," not necessarily because it represents linguistic change but because it represents change from something that makes sense, i.e., the idea of coming home, of knowing where home is and seeking it out. That is to say, the new usage replaces sense with nonsense

Note the the elegant headline on the front of the beleaguered SF Chronicle today:

Wandering Whales
Homing in on Open Sea

The sea is the home of the whales. If they remain in the San Francisco Bay, they will die. To the whales, the sea is home in the deepest sense of the term. But what if some asshole -- and since this is a blog, we may stoop to conquer -- had used the lamentable "honing in," which suggests (if it suggests anything) that the whales are sharpening themselves toward the ocean.

I've written about this before. I will again.

And while we are at it, on the radio a couple a days ago I heard about some kind of baseball tribute to four "former black 20-game winners." I am certainly glad the masquerade is over, and they have removed their mask of blackness.

1 comment:

B. Wieder said...

I am also relieved that they have now been demoted to 19- or even fewer-game-winners.