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23rd Annual SF_Express "Stamp Out Respective/Respectively" Campaign

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SF_Express, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    At least 80 percent of the uses of "that" in newpaper stories are unnecessary. And I will personally strangle the next writer who files a story saying someone "would go on to" do something.

    Others: People misuse "hapless" constantly. It means unlucky or unfortunate, not inept. And a "journeyman" is not a well-traveled person or player, or one barely hanging onto his job. He is "an experienced, reliable worker, especially distinguished from one who is brilliant or colorful" -- in other words, a solid but unspectacular performer.

    I've ranted enough. Indeed, too much.
  2. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I knew this would evolve into everybody's pet peeves, which I'm OK with despite my single-mindedness about this issue, but Joe, I have to say, when people use "journeyman," their intent is often the actual definition you cite: experienced, reliable, hangs around, not distinguished. It doesn't have to mean they've traveled a lot. A "journeyman PGA Tour player" is somebody who's always around 125, high or low, on the money list and rarely if ever wins.
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I'm with you on your campaign, S_F. I don't know that I've ever used respective or respectively as a writer.

    As an editor, I usually take it out (Timmy and Skippy are 12 and 13, respectively).

    When I see it it makes me figuratively scratch my head over why someone why write it that way. If it's not clear, wouldn't it be easier to get their ages or hometowns or IQs or father's name or whatever in some other way?

    I don't know if it's a crutch or if it sounds kinda high-falutin' to some folks.
  4. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    There are many who think this is OK, but I'm hard core on it. I say that the parallel construction makes that easy to figure, and that "respectively" doesn't add much clarity for the average reader.

    But the other is indefensible: "Jones and Smith spoke to to their respective mothers and decided to play in the league."
  5. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    Most of the time I see it, it's referring to some player who's barely hanging onto his spot on the team, or has been cut six times in his career, or is only playing because two guys are hurt.

    Just did a quick Google search and here a few NFL players described in various reports as journeymen:

    J.T. O'Sullivan

    Carey Davis, a fullback who had just been picked up by his sixth team in his six NFL seasons

    A.J. Feeley

    Amon Gordon, a DL who had appeared in 20 games with six teams in his seven NFL seasons (with a grand total of 36 career tackles)

    Ola Kimrin, a kicker who at the time of the story was 30 and had "bounced around training camps for years" but had never kicked in a regular-season game

    Find me the journeyman in that list. Feeley, maybe, and that's being generous.

    And that's just a quickie search.
  6. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I honestly had never noticed that; good point.
  7. We went 'round and 'round with respectively one night on the copy desk. Writer used it, I took it out, somebody down the line restored it, then I took it out upon proofreading the page. I finally told the editor who kept putting it back in that my goal was to eliminate every unnecessary construction in that story, and if I did I could probably shorten it 6 inches. He finally left it in.

    And don't even get me started on "arguably."
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    My big pet peeve lately has been "in fact," "honestly" and other such constructions. We don't need to tell the readers we're not lying to them if we never intentionally lie to them.
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    When I see "honestly" or "you can believe me" or somesuch in a quote, I assume the person is lying.
  10. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Methinks so.
  11. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    I've been on this bandwagon -- and many others -- before, so clear me a seat. Most words that end in -ly get my attention as not being necessary. Most likely.
  12. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    I've never seen it in newspapers, but my wife has a dimwitted friend who uses ecleast to mean at least.
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