Monday, April 11, 2011

Wonderings and Googlings (Wherein I wonder about words, then I Google them)

"I'm special" = 2,800,000 hits

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Subject-Object Agreement? Don't Hold Your Breaths.

Here's a headline from today's New York Times:

At Particle Lab, a Tantalizing Glimpse Has Physicists Holding Their Breaths

Breaths? Really?

I've written before about subject-object agreement, like "Users who experience dizziness should call their doctor."

The bottom line is there's no right answer in most of these situations. But I bet that about 99 out of 100 editors would have made "breath" singular -- a collective concept -- in that NYT headline. " Breath" isn't usually treated as a count noun. It's more of a mass noun. And if a nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief, can't breath be as collective as sigh?

Odd choice. Not wrong, per se. Just odd.

Bookmark and Share


Bookmark and Share