Welcome back, lovely people. Today the Grammar Cop wishes to air her frustration over certain repeated errors in the media. They (Note: “media” is plural!) should know better.
- Speaking of plurals: The words media, phenomena, and bacteria are plural. Their singular counterparts are: medium, phenomenon, and bacterium. Of course there are many others of this ilk, but these are the ones I see confused most frequently.
- Past tense perplexity: I just read somewhere that “the ship sunk.” No, it didn’t! It sank. The word sink is similar to “sing” in this way. One never says, “I sung the melody.” No, we say, “I sang the melody.” Similarly, we say, “The boat sank.” However, we CAN say: The ship has sunk, and She has sung the melody.
- Word mix-ups: I’ve seen this mistake often, most recently on The Huffington Post: “Swathes of the Great Barrier Reef Suffer ‘Complete Ecosystem Collapse.'” The word in that headline should be swaths, not “swathes.” As the dictionary points out, “swathes” means a “wrapping or bandage.” In the sense of the headline, swaths was called for, as it means a “path or strip … as cut by one course of mowing”; a line or route along which something travels or moves; “the hurricane demolished houses in its path”; “the track of an animal”; “the course of the river.” There are many other mix-ups which I’ve addressed before, such as here and here.
May you all have a phenomenal seven days until next Friday Follies!