Dear Chicago Tribune,

I am asking where you have hidden a specific word: 'pled'.   It’s a short little word and is really quite harmless.   It seems as if you have hidden it somewhere in hopes that no one will find it.  Perhaps you think that no one will miss the little guy.  If so, you are mistaken.  Among others, I do miss that little word and wonder why you are afraid to use it.  What did those four little letters do to you?

For all intents and purposes, Chicago Tribune is, and always has been, an innovator.  Because of your experimentation I learned how to shorten words to spell them in ways that kept accurate pronunciation while shortening the truly confusing English mish-mash  of, for example, words that have in them ‘..ough’ or that end in ‘..ough’.  You spent a couple of years using words like: thru, tho, ruff and tuff.  Not only did you shorten the words, you encouraged us readers to use them.  So I did!  And, maybe your experiment failed in the grand scheme of things, but the fact is that I still use those words, spelled exactly the way you encouraged me to do.

Now, I’m sure, dear Trib, that you have noticed that the younger generation is shortening words all over the place.  In fact, they are shortening many words into acronyms so they fit into tweets and messaging boards.  Very few people, even of my advanced age, have no knowledge of LOL, OMG and BRB.

However, for some unknown reason you have chosen to lengthen a word.  You insist on using 7 letters instead of 4 letters.  You persist in writing ‘pleaded’ instead of ‘pled’.  You continue writing, ‘The man pleaded guilty.’ instead of what I was taught was
proper, ‘The man pled guilty.’

I am, as you know from my blog, very interested in anything pertaining to legal matters and the law.  I’m always devouring the articles and columns in your newspaper that are about people arrested, sent to trial, sent to jail, appealed their cases, etc.  And about four or five years ago the word ‘pled’ disappeared from the pages of you newspaper.  At first I really didn’t pay attention but eventually I realized that it was not just some copy editor using the word ‘pleaded’, it had become a policy at your paper.  That made me sad and a bit confused.

What will you lengthen next?  Maybe you will eliminate the word: ‘led’!  You will write: “The general leaded his army into battle!” instead of: “The general led his army into battle!”   What about the word; ‘flee’. Will that word become ‘fleaded’ or ‘fleeded’ instead of ‘fled’?

Or perhaps your policies will dictate that; “The accident victim bleeded very much.” instead of; “The accident victim bled very much.”  Right now my word processing software is telling me that there is no such word as ‘bleeded’.  Until I saw it in your paper I didn’t know that there was such a word as ‘pleaded’.  Because my software is not underlining the word ‘pleaded’ maybe the
entire English speaking world has decided that pleaded is better than ‘pled’.

I hope not because I truly miss that simple little word!

Sincerely, Dorothy

Filed under: Digressions

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