The importance of excellent grammar and syntax
To which I reply, "What do you mean, 'WAS good' -- is it no longer available for me to read (watch)...?"
Of course, in my silly example above, the first speaker makes the comment in the past tense because the reading (or watching) experience is in his past; stated correctly, though, the speaker means, "You should read this book; it IS really good!"
Incorrect grammar, syntax, and word choice sum as a pet peeve of mine; they expose the parties of a conversation to probable misinterpretation, and consequential problems. And one reason why my posts drip with academic exactitude -- the necessity is not to slip into jargon and catch-phrases etc.
Communication skills also expose the listener or reader or viewer to propaganda, as George Orwell showed us; although, good propaganda requires excellent communication skills. Go figure.
So why this post? Note this snippet from the Wall Street Journal...
"[The] Memphis, TN hospital said Tuesday that Steve Jobs received a liver transplant there and that his prognosis was 'excellent'..."Um, what do you mean, "was excellent" -- his prognosis initially was excellent, but no longer is (excellent)? Something somehow changed for the worse? Or is your "was excellent" only a figure of speech, poor grammar and syntax?
I suspect the answer is the latter -- I doubt the hospital spokesperson to be Machiavellian -- and yet, Apple, in its quest for corporate secrecy and privacy, especially as it regards Steve Jobs's health, can be quite Machiavellian.
Which all means that the writer is guilty of slack analysis and lazy writing, and his editor did a lousy job of editing. And that we, the readers, are no closer to the truth of Steve Jobs's health than if the hospital spokesperson said nothing, and the WSJ reported that.
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist