Columns » Words

Room for the ins



"For the second successive day, tens of thousands protested in several cities across Yemen to demand that Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi prosecute army commanders suspected of negligence or collaboration with al-Qaida in the Sunday attack, in which headless bodies of soldiers were dumped in the desert in the deadliest defeat for the army in its nearly year-long campaign against the militant movement in the south."

That's seven "in's" in one sentence; Michael Klossner counted. And it's a real sentence from a real news story too, not something dreamed up for the purpose of cramming in's in. Seven may not be a record, but surely it's close. I dassn't be too critical, though. Like most journalists, I've done a little "in"-abusing myself. "Of" can be addictive too.

"The city's youngest councilman, Monte Sorey, suggested that the city 'Cut out a big chunk of it [a mural] and put it back down at an elementary school with a sandpit underneath and climbing holds on the reverse side.' "

The schoolyards of long ago had no sand pits, only sand boxes. But if we've lost one box, we've gained another. Automobiles now have glove boxes instead of glove compartments. The chances of finding gloves inside are still slim, I imagine.

Max Brantley spotted a new euphemism:

"Gov. Mike Beebe has named the owner of a Little Rock vegetation management company as the newest member of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission." I'm sure the governor has thought carefully about this, but just because a person can manage vegetation doesn't mean he can manage game and fish. And what is vegetation management anyway? The next sentence of the news release explains, sort of: "Beebe said in a statement that Ford Overton, owner of West Tree Service, will replace George Dunklin of DeWitt. His term expires July 1, 2019." Could we call what those forest fires are doing out west vegetation management? Is the kid mowing the grass a vegetation management trainee? I can manage a mess of fried okra pretty good my own self. Should I get some kind of certificate?

Add a comment