Monday, September 7, 2009

Things that bother me---

I notice more and more often that TV people don't use proper words:
Amount and Number are frequently misused and every time I hear a talking head say the wrong word I want to call that station and complain....

Usage note: (The online Dictionary agrees!)
"The traditional distinction between amount and number is that amount is used with mass or uncountable nouns (the amount of paperwork; the amount of energy) and number with countable nouns (a number of songs; a number of days)."

"Although objected to, the use of amount instead of number with countable nouns occurs in both speech and writing, especially when the noun can be considered as a unit or group (the amount of people present; the amount of weapons) or when it refers to money (the amount of dollars paid; the amount of pennies in the till)."

GROW is another current word usage that bugs me: "We need to grow the economy." (How do you plan to do that? By planting more 'economies' in the garden?)
Remember "Mary, Mary quite contrary, How does your garden grow?" Membership may grow (verb) but to 'grow a membership' ... Why not just 'Increase the Number of Members'?

I won't even touch on pronounciation... that's another subject entirely. I almost feel sorry for a new staff member on the evening news who hasn't been clued to how to pronounce a place name correctly.

I guess my education, being of the "old school" (literally) makes me too aware when the current usage is out of sync.

Other thoughts: The 'old style' advertisements were so effective that many of us recall slogans without any trouble at all: "You'll wonder where the yellow went, when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!", and "Pop, Pop, Fiz, Fiz... oh what a relief it is!" (Alka-Seltzer). I'm sure you can think of dozens more of this type.

So why do companies spend millions of dollars on elaborate productions to sell an item or a product, when one catchy slogan might be even more effective. Can you remember any of the products that filled the half-time at a televised football game? Really remember and quote them? Yes, I'm sure you know that Budweiser had an ad playing, but what was it's 'slogan'?

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