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Chriss Scherer Scherer has been the editor of Radio magazine since 1997. His experience in radio includes work as chief engineer at stations in Cleveland (WMMS-FM, WHK-AM, WZJM-FM, WJMO-AM...more

Archive for April 30th, 2009

Language, please

The title probably makes you think about swearing. That’s not the point this time.

I’m more and more annoyed with the lack of attention being paid to language today. I don’t expect everyone to be an award-winning language expert, but I would like to see some attention paid to using language properly.

This is about English. My concern is not with those who speak English as a second language (although there are plenty of English-second speakers who have a better understanding of English the English-first speakers), but with those of us who grew up with a language and use it every day.

What appalls me most is when I hear radio and TV announcers and news reporters butcher the language. The awful mistakes heard over the airwaves are repeated by the audience. These errors are like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Some examples:
“Have went” (instead of went or have gone)
“There is” (usually as the contraction “there’s”) when it should be “there are” (example: There’s many cars on the highway.)
Misspellings on TV crawls

Some errors in writing that are common:
Its (possessive of it) vs. it’s (contraction of it is)
Your (possessive) vs. you’re (contraction of you are)
There (adverb) vs. their (possessive pronoun) vs. they’re (contraction of they are)
Apostrophes on plurals (essays is the plural, essay’s is the possessive)

When speaking without a script, some errors are bound to occur. I can live with that. But the proliferation of errors I see in prepared material is just not acceptable.

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