Monday, August 25, 2008

 

Learning 21st Century English Usage

Were I an editor, I would have edited this:
Shares in Maple Leaf Foods, which expanded a nationwide recall of its cold cuts over the weekend after its products were linked to four deaths and dozens of illness, fell to their lowest level in seven years during trading on Monday.

I don't think that were linked to four deaths and dozens of illness is correct or comprehensible: there are dozens and dozens of illnesses, but most likely we are meant to understand "dozens of instances of illness" or "dozens of cases of illness."

The article concludes with some helpful advice:

The widening of the recall is leading to some confusion among consumers about what meat products are safe. Over the weekend, Tony Clement, the federal health minister, suggested that Canadians who have doubts about the providence of the cold cuts in their refrigerators should simply throw the food out.


Canadians who have doubts about the provenance of the cold cuts in their refrigerators should do the same.

Thanks to the article Shares Fall as Maple Leaf Expands Meat Recall By IAN AUSTEN in the New York Times for these challenges to my linguistic adaptability.


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