Mr. Safire Said So
There's no one I admire more than William Safire when it comes to English usage. But an email from him several years ago still has me down.
He said, in response to my email to him, complaining about how words evolve and are misused, that language evolves and changes over time, and that everyday usage causes this to happen.
The email was probably from an assistant, but his name was used at the end, so I like to think that it was actually from Mr. Safire.
Take the word graduated, for example. So many people say, even broadcasters, and reporters write it, that someone "graduated"
high school. How do you graduate a high school? Proper language would be "graduated from" high school.
But when people hear or read the news, and
the people they hear or read are not well
versed enough, their own lack of education
showing, the usage changes over time.
Another one is hospital. People constantly say
"He went to hospital," not the correct "He went to the hospital."
Or they say "Doctor is not in today." Why
not "The Doctor," or "Doctor Smith" is not in.
These verbal shortcuts are annoying and
irritating. Do you care? I most certainly do,
and my therapist agrees with me.
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