Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Grammar cop on the beat, again...

Le peeve du jour:

I just heard it again: there was an annoying error in word usage in a television commercial -- so rare an occurrence!

This time, it was something about the Maya calendar, wherein "the magnetic poles of the earth reverse and hurtle us into space."  Fellas, I hate to break it to you, really, but something can not "hurtle" something else.  "Hurtling" is an intransitive verb, which means there is no object to it.  I may hurtle.  A stone, a train, an asteroid may hurtle, but we do it ourselves, and not to something else, but only toward something or somebody.

If you wanted to indicate that the earth's gravitational switch might send us all hurtling into space, but that was too many words for your thirty-second work of art on the airwaves, might I suggest you opt for the more correct (and slightly briefer) "hurling"?   That word is not exclusively translated to mean some unpleasant effect of excesses of food or drink, after all.  Although, having heard your advertisement for the umpteenth time, I'm concerned lest that particular excess also cause said transitive action by me, with pie.

In the meantime, I will hurtle toward the mute button next time I see that ad come up on my screen.

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