February 29, 2008

Forcing transitivity on intransitive verbs

Reporters, even editors, often force transitivity on intransitive verbs. People who are lazy put off their jobs. and writers and and editors describe the happening in words such as 'government indecisions often linger projects.' Most reporters and editors do not use any of 'against,' 'at,' or 'about' after the intransitive verb 'to protest' in placing an object to mean opposition. British usage suggests, in the sense of opposition, 'to protest' is an intransitive verb and warrants the use of a proposition. In the transitive sense, it means 'to champion' as 'you protest you innocence.' In the US English, 'to protest' does not need any preposition to mean opposition. A similar Americanism is to use 'to appeal' to mean 'to appeal against.' So is writing sentences such as 'I will write him' rather than 'I will write to him.'

February 27, 2008

-st: two letters too many

The leader walked amongst the workers, he cooked whilst she read a book and she left the meeting amidst misunderstanding. Although all the three sentences are perfect examples of good English; in all of them, the -st forms of among, while and amid could be conveniently dispensed with.

The -st forms are bit too poetic, if not archaic. But reporters and editors at least working on daily newspapers should not strive to be poets, nor should they try to assume an aura of being ancient when any newspaper does not have temporal importance beyond eight o'clock in the morning.

Still there are some people around who think 'whilst' could be used in a temporal context as (and not 'since,' which should also be reserved for temporal senses) 'while' in both the British and American English also mean 'although' and 'whereas.'

February 17, 2008

Eyewash or nonsence, simply

Eyewash usually refers to a fluid used in rinsing the eye; it can also mean the apparatus used to wash the eye contaminated by foreign substances. The word is quite common in Dhaka newspaper headlines and political speeches. '"It is actually an eyewash ahead of Ramadan, which would not contribute at all in containing the price hike," said a business leader.' Verbosity and wrong preposition apart, the use suggests the word has been used to mean something that would distract people's attention or something to cover up something. The word is used an adejective: 'A workers' leader urged the factory owners to stop their campaigns on "eyewash" labour welfare.' Here, it means something to make people think that things are rolling.

The meaning of the word is simple 'nonsense' and is an uncount noun, which means it does not take an indefinite article.