Columns » Words

Words, July 24

by

comment

“Hy Anaway pitched six solid innings as Arkansas beat the Tulsa Drillers Saturday. … ‘I was throwing everything in the kitchen sink,' Anaway said.”

I'd think anything thrown in the kitchen sink would be outside the strike zone, but maybe this is another weird rule change that came in with the designated hitter. Or maybe our pitcher was confused. The conventional form of the expression is “everything but the kitchen sink.”

 

Give me plenty of rope, Pope:

“Aborigines in traditional clothing and white body paint danced and chanted to the strains of a didgeridoo. … On Thursday, Benedict will get a traditional Aboriginal welcome and tour Sydney's harbor before delivering a major address at Barangaroo.”

You have to love a news story that has both Barangaroo and didgeridoo in it. I think this is my initial encounter with Barangaroo, but I remember didgeridoo from a novelty song of the 1960s, written by an Australian, in which the dying hero asks friends to “Tie me kangaroo down, Sport,” “Play me didgeridoo, Lou,” “Tan me hide when I'm dead, Fred,” etc. A didgeridoo is a kind of wind instrument. Barangaroo is an area of Sydney.

 

“Was the media sexist?” … “Moreover, the media ‘has the ability to help determine which issues people think are important' and ‘can even influence how people vote.' ”

Paul Murray is unsure whether media takes a plural or singular verb. Many share his uncertainty. But not the Penguin Dictionary of American English Usage and Style, a strict constructionist. It says “Media is a plural of medium. Except in sentences like that one and this one, media is improper in the singular.” Random House is more flexible: “In the 1920s media began to appear as a singular collective noun … This singular use is now common in the fields of mass communication and advertising [such as the examples above], but it is not frequently found outside them: The media is (or are) not antibusiness.” I tend to use whichever one sounds better.

Add a comment

Clicky