|Two ways to start the day with a positive outlook: listen to ''Final Countdown'' and point out the mistakes of others
(31 Aug 2007 at 10:22)
|I finally watched the famed Miss Teen North Carolina video last night. Question: Why do you think that 1/5 of Americans can't locate the United States on a world map? Answer: "I personally believe that U.S. Americans can't do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps." Good answer, actually! How am I supposed to find the United States on a world map if I don't even have one? Of course, then she rambles on about the Iraq and everywhere like such as. When you've already answered the question, there's no need to expound; at best you'll end up like one of those spelling bee geniuses who is eidetically compelled not only to spell the target word but to give a definition and relevant Bartlett Familiar Quotation, in doing so embarrassing everyone but his gigadoting parents. At worst you will be Miss Teen North Carolina.
Nobody watches Teen Pageants for geographic insight or usage tips, though. Here's a gaffe from a less likely source: The Iowa district court ruling that same-sex couples can marry. CNN quotes it as saying, "... by reason of the fact that both persons compromising such a couple are of the same sex." Usage panel obsessives will recognize the problem word, comprising, which is "supposed" to be used as follows: "The Congress comprises the Senate and the House." (So to some people this is akin to the subject/object reversal in "the sandwich ate me." Just never say comprising if you must simultaneously sound normal and pacify grammar police.) But wait! The word he used was compromising, not comprising, which doesn't mean that at all! It is not easy to pack two recognizable mistakes into the same word, in a quote that makes it into public record and national news. Kudos and everything like such as.
|You've got to love this "1 out of 5 Americans" statistic. Is there anything that 1 out of 5 Americans cannot claim to do?
Sadly, Aimee Teegarden did not cite her sources, and I can't find which "recent polls" she is talking about. But I did find this one, which surveyed Americans, age 18-24, as well as young people from several other countries:
This has the number of Americans that can't find the US on a world map at 11%. The same percentage supposedly can't find CA and TX. My question is this: what would you do if you were 18 and filling out some survey that asked you to identify YOUR OWN COUNTRY on a map?
|Ummm, hello! She's from SOUTH Carolina. Did you not have a map or something? South Carolina is South of North Carolina like such as.
|#8: Oh F! Looks like you get to start the day with a positive outlook.
G: Well, I'd answer no because I don't have a map.
|"Comprise" in the sense of "to form or constitute" has been common since the late 18C (according to http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/comprise), so unless you count yourself an arch-prescriptivist no policing is warranted.
|I know, that was the purpose of the parenthetical and the scare quotes around "supposed." Even among the arch prescriptivists on the usage panel, only a mere 35% reject that usage.