Friday, December 10, 2010

You gotta laugh

It's time again for another grump from the Word Crank, but at present I find myself distinctly ungrumpy. So today I'll offer a miscellany of language goofs that have amused me. The television, as usual, is a gold mine of unintentional comedy. Local news shows are the best places to go for nuggets, but I can't bring myself to watch that drivel anymore. But national shows provide amusement now and then.

For some obscure reason, I enjoy watching financial news/talk shows. I don't always understand the economic stuff and, heaven knows, I never take advantage of their stock picks, but it's lively chat on subjects of real import. And, yes, the financial geniuses occasionally lose a tussle with the English language.

Speaking of some I-forget-what action of Congress, one expert said "You gotta put your hands in your head." Well, I guess if I "gotta," but it doesn't sound easy…or pleasant.

Another financial wizard botched another saying when, referring to one of those companies whose stock I failed to purchase, he declared "They're making money hand over foot."

As I have noted previously, there is no telling what nonsense I would spout if someone "miked" me and pointed a camera in my direction. So the financial talking heads are surely more to be pitied than censured. But what can you say of real estate agency that purchases ad space in a publication to announce of a listing, "Price reducted!"? Did no one question that?

And where was Spell Check when my dermatologist ordered a large poster to tout some cosmetic procedure that promised "noticable results"? I'm afraid I did not need my long sit in the waiting room to notick that.

I just read an article that contained this puzzle: "Some carry a gun to make them a man, rather than the other way around." What? Others carry a man to make them a gun? This one may keep me awake tonight.

Then there are words that aren't, but perhaps should be. Not too long ago, we donated a car to charity. I was not sure whether this was a noble gesture so much as taking advantage of the kindness of strangers to haul away a car worth approximately $7.45. Nevertheless I did it. In investigating this particular group, I was heartened by their self-assessment on their Web site: "We are honest and integrous."

Clearly an adjective form of "integrity" was needed, and Car Angels went where grammarians fear to tread. For some reason, this error made me smile. If we were all a little more integrous, there would be no need to put our hands in our heads.

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