Friday, January 04, 2008

Went Missing

So, I love the Grammar Girl Podcast - it's a great way to learn new things about the mechanics of writing and speaking.

Today GG ran down a few of the Words of the Year - those in just a minute, but first:

GG says her Pet Peeve of 2008 was inspired by complaints about the phrase went missing, which one particular caller says is frequently and improperly used by local media.

If a peeping tom were watching, he would have noticed my ears perk up when I heard that.

Grammar Girl says went missing is actually not wrong - it's a popular British idiom similar to go native.

A few other popular idioms include:

go begging

go over: to gain acceptance - I hope this play goes over well.

GG says the phrase went missing may have made its way to modern day news-speak after the dissapearance of British girl Madeleine McCann, when so many British media types were reporting on the little girl's unknown whereabouts.

They said went missing->American journalists heard went missing->writers/producers started using went missing.

Personally, I've never been a fan of the phrase. Why say, "The little girl went missing," when you can say, "The little girl disappeared"??

These are the hairs I split at work every day.

Which brings me to the Words of the Year.

Merriam-Webster went with w00t, a common phrase used by folks who frequent the gaming world. The word is actually spelled with two zeroes in the middle, and MW says it loosely translates to yay! Some gamers will tell you it means ha!

Anyone with any insight on this?

The Webster New World Dictionary picked grass station as its word of the year. That pun on words refers to a mythical fueling station of the future - a fill 'er-up-joint offering only ethanol and other green friendly fuels. Hey, it could happen, right?

Locavore is a title I'd like to assume. That word, chosen by the New Oxford American Dictionary, is what you'd call someone who only eats food grown or harvested within a hundred miles of the place they call home.

One of their runner-up choices was the verb tase - which is what happens when you stun someone with a taser.

I find this interesting because our newsroom has worked hard to eradicate the word tase from our vernacular - because it wasn't really a word, up until now.

I wonder whether the verb's new addition to the dictionary will change things...

GG is selling t-shirts with the witty slogan, "Don't verbify me, bro!"


The clock is still ticking on that dude's 15 minutes of fame.


Donald said...

I'm not sure if you're allowed to have a post on grammer (particularly, a post that's picky about grammar) and type "it's" where you wanted "its."

Actually, I'm almost positive it was a typographical error, not a mental one, given your adroitness with words.

Okay. Now I feel like a big nerdy jerk. I really like the blog. And now the only time I've commented, I've done so just to be picky about something that's not really important.

Must be time for bed. Or for a drink.

Kate The Great said...

Donald! Thanks for the heads up! I caught the one misuse of the contraction in the sentence about grass stations! I appreciate the heads up :) I have an editor on retainer (I pay him a nickel for every error he catches) but he's on a mini vacation this week. Thanks for standing in, it helps to have a second pair of eyes go over this stuff!