By Bob Yearick

Media Watch

•Randy Wilkins, director and producer of The Captain, an ESPN documentary about Derek Jeter, quoted in USA TODAY: “The finale includes a personal moment with he and his wife.” Object of preposition, Randy, so you need the objective pronoun: him.

•Also, Ike Reese, a host on Philly’s WIP-FM: During a broadcast, he said, “It was between he and Jalen Reagor.”

•Ike’s colleague, Jon Ritchie, uttered this during his show: “After a game, I would lie my head on the pillow.” A Stanford grad, Ritchie seemed to be a victim of phony sophistication, as he turned the standard lie/lay problem on its head. He used lie (to recline) instead of the correct lay (to place something). Usually, people commit the “I’m going to lay down” error. Remember, lay is a transitive verb, which means it takes an object — in this case, Jon’s head. Lie is intransitive, so it will not have an object after it. You can’t lie something down.

•Phillies TV color man Ruben Amaro (coincidentally, another Stanford alum), broadcasting a Phillies game in San Francisco, messed up the “kinder/gentler” phrase: “I thought they were kindler and gentler on the West Coast.”

•Journalists seem determined to find new uses for old words. USA TODAY’s Jori Epstein, for instance, wrote this: “This is headquarters for the 40-year-old general manager to conduct business, but he doesn’t flock to his desk. The lanky former Princeton basketball player instead takes a seat at the round conference table, ready to converse.” A single person cannot flock. As a verb, flock means to gather or move in a flock, or group. It always takes a plural subject. Better to have written, “but he doesn’t rush to his desk.” 

•A reader spotted an unfortunately common miscue in the Daily Mail: “The incident is yet another example of the epidemic of crime that is wrecking havoc on US retail outlets.” That’s wreaking havoc.

•Over at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Erin McCarthy, writing about a man who drove into a crowd of people, committed this dangler: “After being arrested, reporters asked whether he had anything to say.” Were the reporters granted their one phone call first?

•While discussing Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s suspension, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith committed the always popular double-is:  “The problem is, is that . . .”

•Similarly, Rhea Hughes, on WIP: “Here’s the thing is.” Rhea utters this often, and I think the inexplicable addition of is at the end makes this expression part of her idiolect — language peculiar to her.

Literally of the Month

A reader reports that a legal expert on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°,  reacting to the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, spoke thusly: “Today’s news is literally head-spinning.” 

Department of Redundancies Dept.

•Someone named Scooby Axson wrote this in USA TODAY: “When fans go to football games, having access to internet is almost as required as spending $10 bucks for a beer.” I’ve seen this on signs in mom-and-pop shops, but never in a newspaper.

•Jenna Ryu, reviewing a book in USA TODAY: “Instead of providing love and support, McCurdy says her mother instead conditioned her into eating disorders . . .” Always good to remember the qualifier that starts your sentence.

•Darnell Green of the Golden State Warriors, speaking at a press conference after a playoff game, credited teammate Steph Curry with picking up his spirits during halftime. Said Green: “I was having a bad game, and he visibly saw that.”

Thank you, Dr. Oz

The famous (infamous?) TV doctor’s campaign for the U.S. Senate has spawned a veritable cornucopia of material for “War.” To wit:

•An AP story about a voter included this: “Dr. Nadeem Iqbal, a Pittsburgh-area radiologist who was originally born in Pakistan, said he might be tempted to vote for a Muslim candidate.” Did he come to the U.S. to be reborn?

•An Oz commercial gave us this dangler: “After medical school in Philadelphia, people put their lives in my hands.” Wait — if they went to medical school, couldn’t they treat themselves?

•And finally we have this logic-defying circumlocution from the candidate himself: “I can only speak to what I’m saying.” 

Word of the Month


Pronounced as it’s spelled, it’s a verb meaning to understand (something) intuitively or by empathy.

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