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pet peeve -- strangle

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by shockey, May 26, 2009.

  1. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    per the terrible story on mike tyson's daughter, stories/headlines refer to her "near-fatal strangulation" on an exercise apparatus.

    by definition, if someone is "strangled" he-she is dead. you aren't "strangled to death," that's repetitive. you are "choked to death.

    i'd presume you can't be "nearly-fatally strangled," either.

    i suppose i'm being picky. but it is a pet peeve, as i said. and since language is our business i thought i'd throw it out to the class.

    anyone else give a spit? ??? ??? ???

    f this entire thread is ridiculous don't hesitate to say so. i'll just delete it and pretend it never happened.

    oops! forgot to post the link that set me off: http://www.fanhouse.com/news/main/mike-tysons-daughter/497421?icid=webmail
  2. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Same with drowning and electrocution.

    A co-worker once argued with that, insisting that she had drowned as a child. It was almost plausible in her case.
  3. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    classic. ;D ;D ;D
  4. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    What, you've never heard of the Boston Strangle-to-Deather?
  5. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    That's the standard copy-desk lore. However, my copy of Webster's New World has "to kill ..." as the first definition and "to suffocate or choke in any manner" as the second definition. We can go all Kenn Finkel and call the dictionary "the lowest common denominator" and say the newsroom's standards are higher. But the dictionary does reflect change in popular usage (and change often comes via common misuse). Just sayin'.
  6. shockey

    shockey Active Member


    wrong is wrong, even if wrong enough wears dictionaries down to accept common misusage. i'd like to think we in the biz could keep our standards higher. shouldn't be that difficult, as long as we remain afloat.

    it's like coming to accept "could care less." no, you couldn't.

    and to save wiseacres the trouble, i know many "could care less" about this topic, when you really "couldn't care less." ;)
  7. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Unless a news organization's stylebook consciously decides to ignore a dictionary definition -- and in this case, it might -- I don't think it can be left to individual copy editors (or desks) to decide which dictionary changes to accept or reject. From a practical standpoint, it's too capricious. Now if the keepers of a stylebook decide "strangle" will continue to mean fatal in every usage, I'm fine with it. In fact, I agree with it. Otherwise, I favor allowing whatever the dictionary (whichever dictionary that the newsroom accepts) says can be allowed.
  8. I Digress

    I Digress Guest

    My husband trains electricians.. electrocuted is his peeve.. He admits to being shocked over the years, but never electrocuted. Cause then I'd be married to a ghost. I must say, electrocuted is one weird looking word.
  9. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    Does anybody else ever have trouble communicating with non-journalists because of these types of words? One time my wife told me an acquaintance had been electrocuted. It was a few days before I found out he wasn't dead, he had just been shocked.

    It seems like I get asked "Why do you take things so literally?" a lot.
  10. Don't get us started. "Literally" is another oft-misused word. :D
  11. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Good thing you didn't send a wreath.
  12. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    I've heard it misused like literally every day of my life.
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