the ambiguity of languagePosted: July 27, 2011
I haven't groused about language usage for a while, so it's time to do so again.
- I'm proud to be a supporter of Planned Parenthood and receive their emails. Normally the language in their messages is very clear. Last week, however I received an email stating "We are on the verge of securing birth control with no co-pays for millions of Americans." That could mean one of two things. It could mean that birth control would be completely free, or that the woman would pay the full price of the prescription. Given that it was Planned Parenthood, I knew it to be the former, but the language certainly wasn't clear. A newspaper article a day or two later made it much more clear, stating that a government panel was recommending that birth control be free.
- I saw a license plate frame last weekend that said, "We support search and rescue." Really? Gee, I'm glad. I'm not aware of anyone who is opposed to search and rescue! Of course maybe it means, "We contribute money to search and rescue organizations."
- The cover of the current issue of Condé Nast Traveler highlights "The Beauties of Luang Prabang." Normally beauties in the plural refers to women, as in "the beauties of the new Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue." But, given that this is Condé Nast Traveler, the article refers, of course, to the beauty of the town itself.
That's it. Enough grousing for now.