Sunday, October 05, 2008
Giles Coren Is Still A Prick
Although it wasn't one of my favourite moments of the just recently finished series of The Wire, I enjoyed the two scenes in which examples of the proper use of the verb 'to evacuate' were provided; first, to a reporter who had wrongly written that some number of people were evacuated, rather than the building they were occupying, and second, to a policeman who didn't understand that McNulty meant the homeless murder victim he was standing over had shat himself after being killed. This, I think, should be borne in mind when considering the complaint I am about to make. I recently recieved copy-edited proofs of a piece of writing I did. Now, I know that my writing can be rather convoluted, my meaning somewhat opaque, and so some manglings I am prepared to forgive: they were probably there in the first place, and in attempting to untangle them they only get wound more tightly. Nonetheless, some things aren't matters of style, but of basic grammar. Not understanding the difference between a foolish hope and a hope of foolishness is one, and thinking that it is acceptable to begin sentences of written English with 'but' is another. Grumpy old man interlude now over.