Monday, July 16, 2007

Dodgy English ‘Experts’ … Again

Looks like everybody’s getting into the ‘English expert’ act these days. For the past several weeks, 8 Days magazine has been running an English: Get It Right column. Last week’s started out promisingly enough, but then came this clunker:

A disinterested media watchdog would have wondered what all the fuss about Paris Hilton going to jail was about.

What they meant was, of course:

what all the fuss was about Paris Hilton going to jail.

Looks like their ‘experts’ are in need of grammar help themselves!


Meiling said...

Hi Ludwig,

How are you doing? This is my first time posting. I have been following your entries though. Keep up the good job! :)

One thing I noticed is, many supposedly English language "experts", teachers included, have a tendency to miss out on tiny details that make a sentence grammatically proper, or whole. It's like, they only see what they want to see. But I suppose that happens to all of us, at one point or another.

I am tutoring this Sec 1 boy, whose teacher missed a lot of his mistakes when marking. I told him that he was very lucky.

The Grammar Terrorist said...

Great to hear from you! Hope you're enjoying TP.

I think the 'selective' approach is sometimes understandable -- it is quite normal for teachers to have a 'language focus' for a given assignment, i.e. she/he chooses specific errors to focus on. Of course, this makes sense if it is in line with what has been taught that week. And, needless to say, very obvious errors -- even if they're not the week's focus -- shouldn't be ignored.

But I suspect, as I think you do, that many teachers simply do not know any better, or do not care!

Meiling said...

Well, to clarify, it was his mid-term exam paper. 'Nuff said.

Anyway, I am so totally enjoying my TA. Not TP yet, that will be next year. See you when NIE reopens in August!

jun said...

hey, wouldn't

…what all the fuss about Paris Hilton going to jail was.

be a better alternative?

The Grammar Terrorist said...

Hi, Jun

Yes, that's certainly possible too. I guess I suggested what I did because it retains the core expression: '...what the fuss was all about'.