Monday, September 20, 2004

English language, Macauley Culkin punished

So. Macaulay Culkin got arrested for drug possession.

It's always fun to watch child stars self-destruct, but never mind that. What I'm more concerned about is the crime against the English language commited in the requisite Culkin-related story in 24 Hours, the Toronto Sun's free transit paper, which is worth only about half the cover price. This publication makes this particular type of error all the time, but this is a particularly egregious example:
The 24-year-old actor, best known for his role in the movie, Home Alone, was taken into custody on complaints of possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
The commas around "Home Alone" make it a non-restrictive appositive that doesn't change the meaning of the sentence, but merely provides more information about the subject, "the movie". In other words, "the movie" and "Home Alone" are equivalent phrases, the same way that "24 Hours" and "the Toronto Sun's free transit paper" were equivalent phrases in a sentence only a few lines above.

In still other words, this sentence is making the horrifying statement that there is, and has been, only one movie ever, and it was Home Alone. Fortunately, this dreadful proposal is untrue. Unfortunately, this is proven by the existence of three Home Alone sequels.


Blogger Scott said...

So, have you checked out


I'm sorry to say that I actually enjoy your editing themed posts. So if anyone ever asks...

9/21/2004 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Lynn said...

Nah. Seemed like spam to me.

Thanks for the vote of support, Scott. For some reason, I just always want to bitch about words and people's inability to use them coherently. It's surprising I don't talk about Bush, but really -- there are whole websites devoted to that.

9/22/2004 09:44:00 AM  

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