By Bob Yearick

Media Watch

•Reader Larry Hamermesh submits this from Delawareonline: “Grading for Equity aims to filter privilege and behavior from grades and stick to academic standards — but its tenants are not without critics.” That should be tenets — beliefs or principles. 

•Also from Delawareonline, courtesy of reader Bruce Hudson, comes this headline on an article about embezzlement at an OB/GYN practice: “A Jury Trial and Sentencing, But No Admittance of Guilt.” Noting that admission would have been a better choice, Bruce says: “Guilt was not allowed in, I guess.”

•A story in The New Yorker quoted Ted Sarandos, co -chief executive officer and chief content officer for Netflix, on the theory that streaming services had to appeal to distinct groups of fans: “There was this misnomer about the Internet all along.” A misnomer is an incorrect name — e.g., calling an orca “a killer whale” is a misnomer. But many people, like Sarandos, think it means a misconception or mistake.

•Financial adviser Dan White on WDEL: “It may be time to bunker down.” Granted, you may be doing it in a bunker, but the expression is hunker down.

•According to a reader, CNN Washington anchor Jake Tapper, while discussing the debt ceiling, conflated the expressions “having a horse in this race” and “having a dog in this fight.” Said Tapper: “What if you don’t have a horse in this fight?” Our reader observes that it would have been more reasonable — but still off the mark – to say “a dog in this race.”

Two Words, Not One

Speaking of conflating, I’ve noticed that some people have a habit of combining two words into one (wrong) word. Alright is probably the most common example (it’s all right). But there are other contenders for No. 1.

Everyday is gaining popularity, as in the sign that, according to The Inquirer, appears above the Philadelphia Eagles locker room: “1% BETTER EVERDAY.”  Another Inky story quoted a source thusly: “You see each other everyday, you get close.” In these contexts, it’s every day. As one word, it’s an adjective: “Taking a long walk is an everyday activity for me.”

A couple of other candidates recently popped up on social media. The first contained a twofer: “Little do my friends know they’re healing me everytime we hangout.” Every time is always two words. In this context, hang out also should be two words — a phrasal verb meaning to spend time or linger. As one word, hangout is a place. So you hang out at a hangout.

Very similar is the mix-up in this Facebook post: “We sometimes like to getaway to warmer destinations during the winter.” Here, another phrasal verb — get away — would be the correct choice. As one word, getaway can be a noun — a place where one escapes to for relaxation — or an adjective describing a means of escape. E.g., a getaway car.

A Matter of Degree

Reader Jane Buck makes a good point: “Sometimes I hear reporters refer to high school degrees. High schools award diplomas, not degrees.” So true. You have to go to college to get a degree.

Myriad, or a Myriad Of?

An Associated Press story about the Arizona Cardinals contained this sentence: “The Cardinals have been hit by myriad of injuries.” 

Myriad can be used as an adjective or a noun. In this case, the writer couldn’t seem to decide which meaning he wanted. As a noun, it should be preceded by “a” and followed by “of.”  When used as an adjective, it stands alone; there is no “of” or “a” present.

So, if the writer had simply deleted of, he could have made it an adjective: “The Cardinals have been hit by myriad injuries.” 

Alternatively, he could have created a noun by writing, “The Cardinals have been hit by a myriad of injuries.”

Since shorter is usually better, it’s hard to understand why a careful writer would ever choose the noun version.


Reader Debbie Layton spotted this on the Associated Press Sports Wire: “As a dedicated subscriber, we wanted you to know about the latest newsletter.” The AP is what is subscribed to; it’s not the subscriber.

Word of the Month


Pronounced yoo-NOY-uh, it’s a noun meaning a feeling of goodwill or a state of good mental health.

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Bob Yearick
The copy editor of Out & About, Bob Yearick retired from DuPont in 2000 after 34 years as an editor and writer. Since “retiring,” Bob has written articles for Delaware Today, Main Line Today and other publications. His sports/suspense novel, Sawyer, was published in 2007. His grammar column, “The War on Words,” is one of the most popular features in O&A. A compilation of the columns was published in 2011. He has won the Out & About short story contest as well as many awards in the annual Delaware Press Association writing contest.

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