By Paul Stregevsky for PRNEWS
While shopping, a sign jolted me. Its grammar was so jarring, I read it twice: “We require that all supplements are third-party tested to contain what they claim.”
Shouldn’t it read “that all supplements be tested?”
Fifty years ago, I’d have firmly answered, “Of course.” Today, “Maybe not.” Times ain’t what they used to was.
As PR pros know, language changes. The Internet now is the internet, as Gretchen McCulloch explains in Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language.
Careful writers, in and out of PR, have long relied on language conventions. They help distinguish one meaning from another. Those of a certain age rely on grammar (be tested vs. are tested), punctuation (eats, shoots, and leaves vs. eats shoots and leaves), spelling (forego vs. forgo) and usage (bimonthly vs. semimonthly).
We also rely on concordance—the agreement of verb form, structure, or grammatical number and person: “I’m one of those people who like their coffee black,” not “I’m one of those people who likes my coffee black.”
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