Category Archives: Sloppy Language Use in the Media

So Many, I Feel Sick!

In conversation and on the radio, I heard the following words misused: data and nauseous. Both of those are good words, but only when used in the right way.  Data is a plural noun.  One speaks of “these data” or “the data are.”  The singular is datumNauseous means a characteristic that makes us sick.  If I say, “I feel nauseous,” I mean that I think that I make others ill.  The correct word here is nauseated.  (I wrote about this on my English quiz many months ago.)

While we’re on the subject of language, what’s going on with all of the conjugating of nouns that I hear lately.  I heard an interview with someone who works on producing a play the other day.  This slovenly speaker talking about the “maintenancing” of the sets.  Those of us who pay attention to our words wonder why he didn’t just say maintaining.  But this has been going on for a long time, I suppose.  Strunk and White deplored moisturizing, noting that moistening meant the same thing.

There are days that drive an English teacher to drink.  Scotch, anyone?

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What Does a Ton Weigh?

Just today on Ozarks At Large, a local news program on KUAF, I heard a person say that there’s a ton of music being performed this week.  Can anyone tell me how much a unit of music weighs?

Please use ton correctly.  It is a unit of weight, not of enumeration.  It cannot be used to describe the mere number of things.  There are plenty of words for that:  abundance, a lot, surfeit, and so on.