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Ask the Editor: Grammar, print news, and Lent


WORLD Radio - Ask the Editor: Grammar, print news, and Lent

A question about grammar, comments on the fate of print news, and the music of Lent

iStock.com/Photo by Andrey Popov

MYRNA BROWN: Today is Friday, March 3rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD’s Paul Butler now with Ask the Editor for March.

PAUL BUTLER: Last weekend I got an email from Rick Franklin. The subject line caught my eye…it was simply titled: “Grammar request.”

Greetings in the name of the Lord. Love the show, listen every day.

I assume y'all know that using “year” and “anniversary” in the same term to describe the anniversary of an event is redundant. Unfortunately, terms like “one-year anniversary” have become somewhat common in our culture. The AP style guide frowns on such use…I've heard some of your on-air talent using it over the years...Please join my efforts to end this particular abuse of our language.

Better terminology would be phrases like “It’s been one year since . . .” or “fourth anniversary.”

Thanks for all you do. Keep up the great work!


Rick you’re right, and I’ll admit that I’m one of those guilty of using the phrase. I turned to our AP Style guide and confirmed that it does indeed frown upon modifying “anniversary” with the word “year”—though I will say scrolling through the clarifications that it’s an inconsistently applied guideline…so I might not go as far as you and call it an “abuse of our language,” but it’s a suggestion duly noted and we’ll work on it. I look forward to next year, when I can mark the first anniversary of my proper use of the term—without the modifier.

Next, a voice memo from Newcastle, Pennsylvania.

DOUG GLENN: Hi friends at WORLD, longtime listener, first time caller. Very much love what you all do on a daily basis.

Listener Doug Glenn is in the publishing business and enjoyed Myrna’s piece last month on the challenges facing newspapers—leading many to move to online only distribution.

GLENN: It was an interesting segment to which I did not disagree with anything, but I'd actually like to add a little note lest any of the WORLD listeners be left with the impression that print is going away anytime soon…But Print books and magazines are at an all time high and there is no indication that print, broadly speaking is dead or dying. As Mark Twain said, the report of my death was an exaggeration such as the case in the print versus digital debate.

One more excerpt from Doug’s voice memo…he ended with this account of when he was touring the facility that prints his magazine. There—in an overflow bin—was a copy of WORLD Magazine:

GLENN: We were extremely honored to know that our humble magazine is printed in the same place where WORLD Magazine is printed. Keep up the good work. And thanks so much, really appreciate what you guys do. God's blessings.

Thanks Doug! And God’s blessings on you as well.

And finally today, a short and challenging email from listener named John…he sent this note after last Wednesday’s program:

Why no mention of Ash Wednesday on today’s podcast? Is Lent not a big deal?

Lent started a little more than a week ago, and as John points out, we neglected to mention it. While some of our listeners and staff may not commemorate the season of Lent, it would have been appropriate to mention it as millions of Christians around the world do. And it’s a great reminder for us all to take time to consider our own relationship with Christ and pray that God would conform us more and more into His image.

So John, we pray that this will be a particularly meaningful season of preparation and reflection for you…and to try to remedy my oversight, I’d like to end this month’s Ask the Editor with an excerpt of a cover version of Terry Talbot’s song: Create in Me a Clean Heart…sung here by World Watch viewer Stephen Nasby as posted on his YouTube channel.

I’m Paul Butler.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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