« What I've learned | Main | The most important part of the story »

No holes in the sky

The Associated Press is to be congratulated for its distinguished addition to the roster of pleonasms.

An article about the mine cave-in in Utah, which The Sun ran in Monday’s editions (without any apparent challenge from the copy desk), carried a reference to underground tunneling.

Posted by John McIntyre at 1:09 PM | | Comments (2)


Is "tunnel" not a valid verb for adjectives? We can (and do, here even) have underwater tunnels.

Or is your objection based more on the availability of context?

JEM: Particularly in the context of a mountain in Utah, where else would one expect a tunnel?

You can have (at least in science fiction) hyperspace tunneling, can't you? But I agree that otherwise it is difficult to have above-ground tunneling.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
Baltimore Sun Facebook page

Most Recent Comments
Sign up for FREE local news alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local news text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Stay connected