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Words, Oct. 22

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“The newest Duggar was born at Joshua and Anna's home, with a midwife and doula assisting in the birth.”

I've heard of boola, boola but not doula, doula, and it's not in my big, old Random House either. It is online, however — “doula: a woman experienced in childbirth who provides advice, information, emotional support [emphasis theirs], and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth.” It's of Greek origin, apparently.

I wonder if this particular doula came to Northwest Arkansas just because of the Duggar family. They certainly provide a lot of work for somebody in that line. And they're on their way to becoming the most famous Arkansans ever, seems like. Most numerous, too.  If the trend holds, everybody in the state will be named Duggar in a few years. Maybe we should start thinking about changing the state name  — “Duggeria,” “Dugland,” or something on that order. The motto on the license plate could be “The Fertile State."

“The exhibition also includes the most famous letter to the editor — Lincoln's reply to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley's blistering editorial accusing the president of not issuing the Emancipation Proclamation sooner.”

Weird wording here. An accusation — of murder, say — is made while it's still undetermined whether the accused actually committed the offense. We don't charge someone with murder after he's already been convicted.

Lincoln clearly didn't issue the Emancipation Proclamation before he issued it, so what's he being accused of? I think the writer intended to say that Greeley criticized the president for not issuing the Proclamation sooner.

“With Paul's Law, Arkansas is among 19 states and the District of Columbia that has banned texting and driving.”

The verb choice might be clearer if the sentence read “Nineteen states, including Arkansas, and the District of Columbia have banned texting and driving,” but any way you arrange it, 19 states is a bunch. The verb must be the plural have, not the singular has.

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