Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Primary Runoff; Today's Good Grammar Award

Today is the day of the runoff election in Texas for the Democratic and Republican party primaries. All the basic information can be found at the personal web site of State Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-137). Please note that the polling place at which you usually vote may be closed: only some are open, because of the expected light turnout.

An aside: Hochberg was my state representative for about a decade and is himself the model of what an elected official can be if s/he is deeply committed to actual public service... and (in Rep. Hochberg's case) very, very bright.

Rep. Hochberg also wins today's good grammar award for the following excerpt from a broadcast email about the primary runoff:
If you voted in one party's primary last month, you can vote only in the same party's runoff. 

Nine of ten people would have said "only vote," leading one to think that one can only vote in it, not put up signs for it, follow returns for it, etc. Not Scott: he got it just right. In English, word order can make all the difference.

1 comment:

  1. One of the reasons that English is such a difficult language to learn is that it is an amalgam of the two basic types of human language, those that depend on word morphology, and those that depend on structural position, to provide an accurate understanding of meaning.

    "Vote" becomes "voted" to indicate past tense, and "party" becomes "party's" to indicate genitive case, but the position of "only" changes the meaning of the sentence.

    Throw in the hard and soft "th", the "h", the "qu", all of the variations on spelling and pronunciation, and you have a nightmare for anyone trying to learn English as a foreign language.

    "Larch" - is this a Monty Python post?



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