How Many in your Group?

rogersgeorge on July 9th, 2016

When you have something in the midst of a group, if the group is two, you use “between.” If the group is more than two, say five, you use “among.” Sixth grade grammar. Here’s a selection from an article in The New York Times, getting it wrong. (Emphasis mine.) I’m surprised they let it slip through.

Though competition between the five remains fierce — and each year, a few of them seem up and a few down — it’s becoming harder to picture how any one of them, let alone two or three, may cede their growing clout in every aspect of American business and society.

The article is about the biggest US companies in the tech field, and it’s fairly interesting. I wonder what the writer would have written had he broadened his scope a bit—He left out some pretty big companies, such as Saudi Aramco, Bank of China, and Tata Group.

Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed

In which I bemoan the state of editing in…

rogersgeorge on January 3rd, 2012

The New York Times, of all places. This newspaper, whatever you say about its politics, used to be the standard of good and correct writing to which any writer of non-fiction could aspire. Now I must say Beware of imitating how the NYT is written.

I’m in the middle of a photo article that reviews 2011 with 365 photographs. It’s an interesting article, and here’s the link:

Photo 57, dated February 26 has a nice NASA photo of the ISS and the space shuttle with the earth in the background. “Backdrop,” even when used as a verb, is one word, folks.

“In this handout image provided by NASA, back dropped by a blue and white part of Earth, space shuttle Discovery approaches the International Space Station during STS-133 rendezvous and docking operations in Space.”

Photo 131, for May 11, has, and I quote, shuddering,

“A young Afghan boy who was shot in the stomach lays on a stretcher as he is taken to hospital in a medevac helicopter in the volatile Helmand Province of southern Afghanistan.”

I’m not trivializing the human tragedy here by mentioning bad grammar.  Reporters and editors doing sloppy work do the trivializing. I discussed this verb a while back, here and here. The NYT should know better. (Full disclosure: they got the verb right in the Sept 13 photo.)

Photo 191, dated July 10, has this monument to carelessness:

A female passerby adjust her hair using the glass in the front door of the temporary residence of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Anne Sinclair in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City.

Third person singular present tense of “adjust” is “adjusts.”  But you knew that.

Photo 221, dated August 9:

A malnourished sick with TB is being washed by his mother in Banadir hospital.

A malnourished what?

The Sept 14 photo caption has “a police” where they mean “a policeman.” The Sept 20 caption says the people in the picture have their heads bowed in prayer.  They are standing, heads up, with their hands over their chests in the posture customarily taken when pledging allegiance.

Come on, you professionals at the NYT. Read my previous post.

To end on a cheerier note, here’s a NASA photo similar to the one in the NYT article.

Our Earth is the backdrop!