Monday, June 6, 2011

Dr. Jack and a Note on Grammar

Thoughts on The Times

Dr. Jack
Saturday's New York Times included an obituary on Dr. Jack Kevorkian.  A Times obit is the best condensed, easily digestible biography you'll ever read.  It's one of my favorite things about the paper.  I have a single reflection on the hotly contested issue of Kevorkian's work.  Every person over the age of
60 with whom I've discussed it--in truth, there were only a few--expressed approval.

Sorry, Ian
Newspaper staffs across the country have been decimated, surely creating increased per-staffer workloads required to produce the same quality and quantity.  Typos and copy-editing mistakes slip through the sieve every day.  It's an unavoidable result of the collision of high volume and constant deadlines.  It's nothing new.  My posts are probably full of mistakes I'm not even aware of, but I do go out of my way for proper grammar despite Kreig Zimmerman's "suggestion" that grammar is overrated.  (Nice try, Kreig.)  Nevertheless, I can't let this one slide.  Another Times article from Saturday, "China Agency Says Threat To Ecosystem Is 'Grave'", includes the following sentence:
But the signs are growing that environmental neglect is causing instability.
I know--it sounds right, and in conversation it's quite common, generally accepted, and just not that big of deal.  Still--and I hate to be such a stickler--technically, it is grammatically incorrect in a way I don't recall noticing in the Times previously.  At the very least, it's quite awkward.  The word, "indicate" or "indicating" might help, but when I get in that situation, I generally put the predicate at the end of the sentence, which, may technically be wrong as well.  Is there anything wrong with ending with a verb?  Somebody help me out, here.  Just my two cents.

I should add an interesting note about this:  when reading the questionably structured sentence all by itself, the problem isn't nearly as evident as when one runs into it while reading the article.  This tells me it's also a rhythm thing.

Sniff, sniff.... I do it because... because I love you, man.  ;-)


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