Monday, April 07, 2008

Surreal Serial Solecisms

You people want evidence as to how things start falling apart (like a clock going limp) without proper punctuation? Well, take this sentence, in today's Post-Standard of Syracuse, New York, in an article it carried by one Frazier Moore, of The Associated Press:

Fifty years ago this month, viewers saw [Mike] Wallace interview Israeli statesman Abba Eban, influential theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, actress-singer Lillian Roth (whose autobiography, "I'll Cry Tomorrow," told of her battles with alcoholism and surrealist painter Salvador Dali.

Problem 1: No closing parenthesis. We're still waiting to end that parenthetical aside. It's sort of the way I talk. Surreal.

Problem 2: Without the serial comma after "alcoholism," we must assume that Ms. Roth did battle with Mr. Dali. (Maybe she did; maybe all those limp clocks ticked her off. Note, I was very careful to avoid typos in this post.)

The big mystery: was the parens boner by AP? Or by the local paper? (We already know AP would never have put that serial comma in there, no way no how. Well, that's what you get. Confusion.)

1 comment:

Patti said...

(Is boner a real word, PK?)

I also flinch at typos and such.

Things that are blatantly ungrammatical always jump off the page at me.

Shoulda been a proofreader, I s'pose.