Needed: Another Edwin Newman

Just heard a local newscaster talk about making an intersection “more safe.” Whatever happened to “safer?” Are they also going to start proclaiming things to be “more fast” instead of “faster?” Is it just me? Used to be that if the word preceding the comparative had three or more syllables, you’d drop in the “more.” Otherwise, just add the “er.” It gets complicated, which is why this stuff needs to be drummed into kids heads while they’re still in “grammar school.”

Meantime, if you aren’t sure, go ahead and drop the “more” and just add the “er.” Keep it simple when and if you can. I myself, (that would be me), tend to use too many commas. I have a word for it. I call it “over-commatization.” Picked it up in grammar school where I was taught to drop in a comma every place where a reader would stop to take a breath. Well, hey. That doesn’t always work. The English language is tough. Consequently, I assume no responsibility for you getting it wrong with the “er” thing. You were supposed to have picked this stuff up in grade school. Provided you got there before all the cuts to public education.

Public officials lower our cultural and intellectual bars every time they make another cut to education. Some inner-city schools have no heat in the winter or cooling in the summer. As a group, we are becoming stupider by the moment so that the wealthiest among us can horde their millions while paying tens of thousands to bribe college officials to get their under-educated kids into the best schools.

It’s madness, but then evolution is a difficult thing to watch.

Also bugged about people calling trucks cars and referring to caps as hats. Not long ago I watched a local reporter standing in front of a truck that had crashed into a storefront talking about the car that had smashed into the building. Then there was a ballgame the other night with the announcers talking about a “ballcap” promotion that was coming up. The ballpark, they explained, would be giving out custom baseball caps emblazoned with the insignia of local colleges and universities. A minute later, one of those same announcers was talking about the “hats” the ball players were wearing. Difficult to watch this stuff. Think maybe I’ll open a consultancy biz for tv news. Edwin Newman, where art thou? More dead now than ever before? Deader than a door nail?

Also hate it when writers fail to use personal pronouns. That one really bugs me.

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