Saturday, November 06, 2004

Tell Me Something I Don't Know

The context is clear, and, for that matter, readers aren't blank slates. Does anybody see the need for "former presidents" once, let alone twice, in this passage?

A president's approval rating is considered a key indicator of re-election chances. Former presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were re-elected with approval ratings in the mid-50s, and former presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter lost when their ratings fell to 40 percent or below.

9 comments:

alias420 said...

Also, see p. 135 of "Lapsing into a Comma."

Danto said...

Hi, could you tell me the word for:

a family is murdered

Will be grateful if you could gmail me the word:

anthonydcosta@gmail.com

Stumblemouth said...

Chickens and turkeys are known to cross-breed, these breeds are known as "Turkins."

DougDC said...

Isn't the whole passage kind of obvious?

cl said...

Hey, now! Only one president at a time!

Right you are.

Kitty Litter said...

Hello! I expect you've heard this before, but I will say it again: your site is a boon to people like me, who were thrust into the role of copy editor and who are currently besieged by writers and readers alike for many reasons. Thank you for your article on copy editing. At the risk of using a cliche, it's like a life preserver. Again, thanks. :)

Nessie said...

"Endurance running, unique to humans among primates and uncommon in all mammals other than dogs, horses and hyenas, apparently evolved at least two million years ago and probably let human ancestors hunt and scavenge over great distances." -- The New York Times, Nov. 18

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that "uncommon in all mammals other than dogs, horses and hyenas..." Shouldn't it be "unknown in mammals other than dogs, horses and hyenas..."? Or "uncommon in mammals other than dogs, horses and hyenas..."?

jackv said...

"Will be grateful if you could gmail me the word:"

Wow, I think that's the first time I've seen gmail as a verb. A new usage?

ramblerdan said...

"Former presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were re-elected ... and former presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter lost when ... "
Not only does it condescend, it also raises a troublesome temporal problem. They weren't former presidents when they were running for re-election. Similarly, "The late Joe Blow won an Oscar in 1938" seems to imply that the award was posthumous.