Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What is up with the New York Times?!

The paper has been riddled with grammatical mistakes lately (I've seen articles talking about a little girl who was "six-years-old" and a couple who got married at an "alter" made of candy) and today they violated my number one rule: if you don't know what a word means, especially if it is borrowed from a language you don't speak, don't use it!

Here is the violation in question:

"Still, for the hard-core on the right, the exits of Senator Arlen Specter (from the party) and Supreme Court Justice David Souter (from the national stage) were probably occasions of celebration, as both had been considered Republicans-manqué for a long time now (if, indeed, Souter, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush, was ever really a Republican at all)."

In this case, "manqué" is an adjective that is borrowed from French. French adjectives have to agree in number and gender with the nouns they modify. In this case, the writer used a plural masculine noun but a singular masculine adjective, and that doesn't work. So, for future reference: you can have one Republican-manqué or several Republicans-manqués, but those are the only choices you have. No mixing and matching of the two.

Thank you.

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