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They said what?

Cringe-worthy usages we’ve read or heard.   Misused, mispronounced, imaginatively created words or catch phrases that defy all rules of English language and yet appear in public places. It can happen to anybody.  Send your discoveries from TV, newspaper, the web, wherever you find them, to Hannah Murphy, Program Director, at hmurphy@virginiavoice.org . Be sure to include “Bad English” in your subject title.

  • Tragedy seems to bring out the worst in the printed word. Here’s the latest from WWBT 12 news online: “Ashley just moved in a month ago and was devastated to here a young father walking off Tivoli Circle with his two year old son was one of the victims.”  December 2013
  • CNN TV news: “He did not commentate on his political plans.”  November 2013
  • From the Times-Dispatch, spell checker fails again: “The robbery then demanded that the woman give him the pizzas as well as cash, and when she complied, he fled on foot.”  October 2013
  • “Asked how Cuccinelli amassed the money now, a spokeswoman for his campaign said: ‘It was a combination of he and his wife’s personal funds with help from family.’ ” Quoted in Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 2013
  • “Only one person was injured and they were minor.”  NBC 12 online reporting, August 2013
  • “They told NBC12, domestic issues have plagued the couple for years and it seems, may have finally drove Scott over the edge.” — Ok, online TV and radio news has to be done in a hurry, but can’t it be done by someone with basic grammar skills?  August 2013
  •  “I have liked all of it,” she said. “Would I have chartered this course? No. ”  A quote from the email news service, Work It, Richmond. Hard to say whether the quoted lawyer misspoke or the reporter misquoted. Of course, a “charter” is a legal document, so perhaps an understandable slip for a lawyer to make.  July 2013
  •  “It was a fateful mistake.”   — from a CNN online report about a tragic traffic accident. At least the sub-heading got it right, “fatal”.  March 2013
  •  “Funeral at Billy’s….”  — from a Richmond local TV news anchor. Really?   How long do you have to live here to know how to pronounce “Bliley?”  November 2012
  • “Sheba is her monical.”  — from a comment about a picture on Facebook, November 2012