Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Pristine Farmland

I wish today’s crop of reporters knew enough to use words properly.
It’s bad enough that the news itself is considered emotionally–charged entertainment instead of information, but that’s for railing about later. Today I’m annoyed with the misuse of words by people who really ought to know better.

Specifically, it’s the word pristine. It means in its primitive state, pure, untouched, unsullied.

The most recent offence is some undeveloped land along the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton. It was described on the evening news as “pristine.”
It’s been used for recreation for quite some time. It’s a stretch to call it untouched.

By far the worst offence ever was back in the early 1990s. A print reporter wrote “pristine farmland.”

I am painfully aware of the chance I’m taking writing about this. The moment anyone rails about another’s grammatical errors she makes a whopper or two of her own or someone recalls a glorious error from the past.

Do as you will.


the Bag Lady said...

"Pristine Farmland"
Isn't that like, um, an oxymoron?
Maybe he just meant clean...
Oh, and yeah, you just doomed yourself to make some kind of whopper!

Hilary said...

Except we all know better than to point that whopper out, lest we make a worser grammatical error or tyop. ;)

Crabby McSlacker said...

That's a good one--I think it gets misused a lot.

The one that irritates me the most is the use of "that" for "who." As in "he's the senator that voted against the bill." (Or wait, are senators people or things? Perhaps a bad example). The error seems to becoming more and more prevalent in news reporting.

Unless of course it was never a rule in the first place. I may well be making it up.

Hilary said...

There's also the overuse of "I" when it really should be "me." I find people are fearful of using "me" and replace it with "I" when it really does not belong.

It's a struggle for me to come up with the correct use of "who" in place of "that", "fewer" in place of "less" and "whom" in place of "who."

That's why there's often a week between blog posts. I don't want to sound like a maroon! ;)

Nita said...

I'm usually so irked at the 'hot topic' of newscasters I forget to pay attention to their horrible grammar. But that's ok (is that proper grammar?), at least you're writing your own words. Newscasters are reading what someone else wrote. What? Nobody in the news departments understand proper word usage?

the Bag Lady said...

Don't worry Hilary, you could never sound like a maroon...you're more of a bluesy typo :)

Reb said...

...and then she goes "Insert moronic statement here"

is another example that drives me crazy!

I broke a young girl of that habit by asking her "where?" every time she said "goes".

Of course the longer I look at that, now I don't know if I spelled it right ;)

Leah J. Utas said...

Hello Everyone - Thanks for not pointing out any mistake(s) I may have made in this post. I haven't seen any yet so I remain blissfully ignorant.

That, who, I, me, goes, they're all grating.
Hello Nita. And no they don't.

Anonymous said...

Your pristine farmland comment reminded me of an incident in my neighborhood. We had one remaining farm surrounded by houses. A car dealer wanted to put two dealerships on the farmland. The neighbors objected. At one hearing an outsider said that the dealership should go in because there "is nothing there now". We all objected to that. Because, of course, a farm is not "nothing".

Hilary, my friend John also talks about maroons.

Anonymous said...

And on a separate note-

Me and John are going....

Give it to John and I...

One loses something, not looses it, (unless one is setting it free. OK, not even then.)

Oh, this is giving me a headache.

Leah J. Utas said...

Hello, Boots586.

Hmm "nothing there" on farmland. Let's see that car dealer try to cook and eat one of his vehicles.

"Me and John." As my Gr. 2 teacher would say, "Is John mean?" Cured the problem.

Hilary said...

Boots: Maroons and Embezzles! :)

The way I learned when to use "I" and when to use "me" is to just drop the other person and treat the sentence as if you were the only subject or object.

You wouldn't say "me is going.." so you'd use "I" for "John and I are going.."

You wouldn't say "give it to I" so you'd use "me" for "give it to John and me"

Then again, me could be wrong!

Mamacita Chilena said...

Amazing isn't it? I find typos on websites like CNN and Newsweek all the time. It's kind of shocking.

Leah J. Utas said...

That's how me learned it too, Hilary.
Hello Mamacita Chilena. It's quite dismaying to see all the typos.