Thursday, August 31, 2006

Why It's Pointless to Write to the P & C

On Thu 08/31, Elsa McDowell <> wrote:
RE: Headlines
Thank you for your message. While technically "mosquitoes" and "mosquitos" are both acceptable spellings, AP Style calls for "mosquitoes" and a copy editor here should have caught the discrepancy.

As for the SAT headline, I respectfully disagree with you. To say "student scores perfectly" would indicate he is a scorekeeper who did his job just right. To say he scored "perfect" means he made no errors in taking the test. It's a bit like saying "he felt badly" when "he felt bad" is intended. If he felt bad, he was achey. If he felt badly, his sensory perception wasn't working well.Hope this helps!Elsa McDowell

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2006 12:52 PM
To: PublicEditor@postandcourier.comSubject:
RE: Headlines
Sorry, Elsa, but I respectfully disagree with that analysis of the phrase "scores perfect." You use the analogy of feels bad or badly, with which I am quite familiar. Try substituting the verb "to be" here. That is the rule for deciding whether or not you need bad or badly or perfect or perfectly. "Student is perfect" is not the same meaning, and "scores" in this context is not a linking verb. It is an action verb.

From: Elsa McDowell]
RE: Headlines
Thanks for your response. We'll just have to disagree on this one.

Let's look at the definitions of the verb to score:
v. scored, scor·ing, scores
1. To mark with lines or notches, especially for the purpose of keeping a record.
2. To cancel or eliminate by or as if by superimposing lines.
3. To mark the surface of (meat, for example) with usually parallel cuts.
4. Sports & Games
a. To gain (a point) in a game or contest.
b. To count or be worth as points: A basket scores two points.
c. To keep a written record of the score or events of (a game or contest).
d. Baseball To cause (a base runner) to cross home plate, especially by getting a hit: scored both runners with a double.
5. To achieve; win.
6. To evaluate and assign a grade to.
7. Music
a. To orchestrate.
b. To arrange for a specific instrument.
8. To criticize cuttingly; berate.
9. Slang
a. To succeed in acquiring: scored two tickets to the play.
b. To succeed in obtaining (an illicit drug): "Aging punks try to impress her with tales of . . . the different drugs they've scored" Art Jahnke.
1. Sports & Games
a. To make a point in a game or contest.
b. To keep the score of a game or contest.
2. Slang
a. To achieve a purpose or advantage, especially to make a surprising gain or coup: "They . . . score in places like the bond market" Mike Barnicle.
b. To succeed in seducing someone sexually.
c. To succeed in buying or obtaining an illicit drug.
[Middle English, from Old English scoru, twenty, from Old Norse skor; see sker-1 in Indo-European roots.]
You bet we disagree. One of us doesn't understand that adjectives modify nouns and pronouns.

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