Nothing seems to get your juices flowing more than when I write about your language pet peeves. My recent column, “More than my dead body,” reported that The Associated Press decreed it is permissible to use “over” when referring to a quantity.
For years, AP style, which most American news outlets adopt, recommended “over” for spatial relationships and “more than” for numerals. AP now says that it’s acceptable to use “over” with numbers. Here are a few of your comments that followed that column:
• “One that peeves me is the question of what happened to the word ‘among’? Now I see ‘between the three of us’ or ‘Between the ACC teams …’ but no use of the required word ‘among.’”
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• “It drives me crazy to hear someone say ‘done’ when he means ‘through.’ Even people who should know better use done incorrectly. Just because so many illiterates do it doesn’t make it correct. When you cook a steak it is ‘done,’ when you finish a task you are not DONE, you’re through. Thanks for letting me vent.”
• “Your January 22, 2015, edition has a small story … under the headline, ‘Downtown Raleigh slow to grow hotel rooms.’ Can you grow a carrot? Can you grow a turnip? Can you grow a hotel? No, you can’t. You also cannot ‘grow a business,’ though this has become an acceptable, grammatically incorrect way to speak and write.”
• “Have you ever run across someone on the phone who, in trying to identify you, has asked you for your ‘Social,’ when they really should have asked for your ‘Social Security Number’?”
• “ ‘Based off of’ rather than ‘based on.’ Don’t know when this came into common use but it is. It does not really make sense and how would you diagram it? (Also) ‘allow for’ rather than ‘allow.’ ”
What irks you? I’ll publish more of your comments about word choice in a future column.
You readers are passionate about your N&O. When we removed the daily bridge column from the paper a few months back and replaced it with some new puzzles, bridge players struck back en masse.
“I can’t tell you how disappointed I am with you,” wrote one bridge player. Wrote another: “Dropping the bridge column has to be one of the worst decisions your paper has made.”
Richard Cole, former dean of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism, wrote: “I’m at a duplicate bridge tourney today, and everybody’s mad about it. … Older people play bridge, many religiously.”
We reversed our decision.
“Bless you,” wrote one. “You will never find duplicate bridge players, young or old, getting into mischief and becoming a liability for the community.”
I don’t know about that. Seems to me bridge players play hardball. I half expected to find a horse’s head in my bed.
I learned my lesson: Don’t mess with the bridge players.
Bride of the Week
Perhaps my favorite reader email of the last year came from my friend John Vaughn, formerly of Raleigh and now of Beaufort County.
In preparation for walking his daughter Meredith down the aisle, Vaughn searched for something that his daughter could carry or wear that belonged to his father, former N.C. House Speaker Earl Vaughn, who died in 1986.
Speaker Vaughn was our Tar Heel of the Week on Sept. 24, 1967, for which he received a pin from us.
“I wanted you to know that somewhere in all that taffeta and lace,” John Vaughn wrote, “she will be wearing my Dad’s Tar Heel of the Week pin.”
WSJ Sunday ending
After this weekend, The Wall Street Journal will no longer provide its Sunday report, which for years has run inside our Work & Money section. We regret that this content will no longer be available for us to publish.