By Bob Yearick
The Invasion of Here’s and There’s
The news media has succumbed to the common man’s misuse of here’s and there’s with plurals. Some recent examples, the first three from The Philadelphia Inquirer:
•A subhead above a story about the Phillies: “Here’s 12 thoughts on a flagging playoff push.”
•Another subhead: “The Eagles will have needs next season and here’s some players who may be available.”
•E. J. Smith, also writing about the Iggles: “There’s plenty of snaps up for grabs in the running back room.”
•Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY: “There’s intangibles, for certain.”
•Delawareonline: “There’s still three months of hurricane season left.”
•In USA TODAY, Jenna Ryu’s interview with Constance Wu made it sound like the actor was talking to herself: “Speaking to Wu by phone, she seems at peace.”
•Gina Mizell in the Inky: “Battier’s wife, Heidi, is a Villanova alumnae.” That’s the plural. Being a female, Heidi is an alumna.
•Lacques again, noting that 10 Kansas City Royals were unvaccinated: “That’s more than double the amount of unvaccinated players on any team that preceded them [into Canada].” With a plural (players), use number; amount is for quantity.
•Ousted Nebraska Football coach Scott Frost uttered the intrusive of, saying: “I have no doubt about how good of an athlete he is.”
•On Sunday Today with Will Geist, the host couldn’t resist adding a syllable to Preventive Services Task Force, making it Preventative Services Task Force.
•Janis Mackey Frayer, NBC News correspondent: “Putin is not likely to change his tact.” Similarly, a subhead in the Inky: “New tact sought in meth OD cases.” Tact is not short for tactic. It means discretion. Tack and tact are often confused when discussing strategy. Derived from sailing, tack is a course of action.
•Josh St. Clair, writing about House of the Dragon in Men’s Health: “King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) continues to age and develop totally gross-looking legions across his back and arms, an obvious portend for a diseased kingdom on the edge of civil war.” The king has lesions (wounds, sores), and portend is not a noun; it’s a verb meaning to foreshadow. Portent is the noun.
Queen Elizabeth Bequeaths Us These
The death of the longest-reigning British monarch produced fodder for “War,” courtesy of our ever-vigilant readers.
•From a WDEL report: “As Queen Elizabeth lays in state . . .” That should be lies. Lays means to place or put.
•From the Associated Press’s Kevin Schembri Orland: “Flowers and wreaths have crowded the door of Villa Guardamangia where Elizabeth and Prince Philip spent months at a time between 1949 and 1951, following the death of the woman who would go on to serve for 70 years as Queen Elizabeth II.” Quite a trick — serving for 70 years after death.
•Several readers noted references to the queen having been coronated. The proper verb is crowned. Coronated is an improper back formation of the noun coronation.
Monday Night Football Follies
According to a reader, MNF play-by-play guy Joe Buck commented that a runner “could have ran” in a different direction, and “leaders have to play good.” Run and well, Joe.
Meanwhile, son Steven heard color man Troy Aikman say players were going “mano y mano,” instead of the correct mano a mano — a common mangling of the Spanish expression among ex-jock announcers. Mano y mano means hand-and-hand, while mano a mano means hand-to-hand.
Literallys of the Month (courtesy of reader Maria Hess)
•President Biden spoke thusly about the damage inflicted by Hurricane Ian: “America’s heart is literally breaking.”
•On CBS Sunday Morning, Jane Pauley had this unique and wordy take on the fall TV season: “Our choices are quite literally almost limitless.”
Department of Redundancies Dept.
•In USA TODAY, Barbara VanDenburgh wrote that William Shatner’s book, Boldly Go “. . . taps into his joy and sense of wonder as he reflects back on his extraordinary life.”
•Mark Kennedy, of the AP, in an obit for Patti LuPone’s brother: “In addition to his sister, Mr. LuPone is also survived by his wife, Virginia, his son, Orlando, and brother, William.”
•USA TODAY’s always reliable Bob Nightengale: “They (Padres) have holes at three different positions.” Different: a word that’s often used needlessly.
Word of the Month
Pronounced KOR-uh-skayt, it’s a verb meaning to sparkle, flash, or gleam; to display great style or technique.
Follow me on Twitter: @thewaronwords
Need a Speaker for your Organization?
Contact me for a fun presentation on grammar: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buy The War on Words book at the Hockessin Book Shelf or by calling Out & About at (302) 655-6483.