Must stay calm. Must not let little things get under one’s skin. Must keep a sense of proportion.
And yet, day after day, journalists everywhere keep turning out sentences in which, in defiance of English syntax, they insist on inserting the day of the week between the subject and the verb. Who tells them to write like this? Yesterday, from Reuters:
SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro Wednesday listed some technical areas that might yet need rule changes, including the use of market orders, “stub quotes,” price collars, and self-help rules used by the dozen U.S. exchanges where today’s high-speed trading is done.
In idiomatic English, the adverb of time comes at the beginning of the sentence—On Wednesday, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro listed—or after the verb—SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro listed some technical areas Wednesday.
That’s how it’s done. What’s so complicated?
Of course, Reuters could have made it even more journalistic by linking up a trainload of capitalizations to the name. You know. You’ve seen it: Chief Assistant to the Assistant Chief Gordon “Beefeater” Tanqueray Wednesday announced.
And we can’t figure out why no one under the age of forty—hell, fifty—reads our stuff any longer. A couple of weeks ago The Sun published a headline with nixes as the verb. Nixes! Who writes these things, guys in their shirtsleeves with their fedoras pushed back and a cigarette dangling from their lips as they type with two fingers on an Underwood?
It’s not that I’m asking a lot, Lord knows. Could you just PUT THE DAMN ADVERB WHERE IT BELONGS IN THE SENTENCE? Or do I have to call in @GRAMMARHULK from Twitter to SMASH you? DAMMIT, IS ANYBODY OUT THERE LISTENING?