My Nocturnal Omission (an addendum)

I signed off on a final draft of my last blog, Airing My Gripes About Arrantly Erring On-Air Language, one immoderately late night last week, bleary eyed and groggily depleted, figuring I’d let the piece marinate for a day or two, then revisit, edit and post. Which I did. But it seems I failed to double-check the notes in which I listed all my gripes. Oops, it seems I whiffed on a couple of them, one of them the most lamented linguistic malfeasance of the bunch. This addendum, then, is intended to right the oversight and mend my offenses:

The thoughtless”I thought to myself”: My take on this now abundantly distributed trope is that it somehow, some way, some time ago, wandered away from the correct “I said to myself” and never turned up at the Linguistic Lost-and-Found bin for purposes of retrieval. Today, its repeated substantiation is passively witnessed not only by consumers of broadcast media , but in the text of magazines and books by writers I had naively presumed knew better, otherwise rational writers who might have asked themselves “Is there somebody in the room beside myself whom I think to?” And so, as the insidious bad habit blindly marches on, I wind up beside myself as I’m forced to bear the fusillades of descriptive-dictionary advocates who posit that the trope is now so indiscriminately prevalent, so deeply embedded, so tranquilly established that it must be anointed Acceptable. Look like they’re they’re winning too. Looks like I must endure the cold bath of Conditional Surrender (the condition being that I am allowed to remain a soldier in the undermanned, mostly toothless resistance).

“Hone” invasion: In my view (and my viewing), there is no more wince-inducing locution than “hone in on“–rather than the correct “home in on”– slipping off a TV anchor’s honeyed tongue. And, yes, I’ve had to withstand the contention that–since this oral misstep is in such common currency–it should be swallowed whole into the maw of dictionary welcome. This time I’m counter-punching. There is absolutely no merit in conflating two words with so much undeniable distance of meaning between them. And I will not brook any plea of relativity; this is not a case of to-each-his-hone,

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