Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Letter D: Alpha-non-Grata

I think it may be too pristine of a Sunday morning to work up a good rant, but since when did the letter "d" become alpha-non-grata? Everywhere I look, everything I read, final d's and ed's are getting dropped like winning young NFL quarterbacks that can't pass. "Some examples?" you say. Okay, Katy Perry lyrics: "...I would be your girl; we keep all our promises..." I'm no William Safire, so I may get the name of the construction here wrong, but in order to agree with the conditional past tense of the copulative verb "would be" you need the same form in the second clause, i.e. "we would keep", contracted down to "we'd keep" so that the syllable count holds the rhythm of the song: "...I would be your girl; we'd keep all our promises..." , but you can't just drop the 'd, because then one clause is past and the other present tense while they are talking about the same thing!

Here's another example I saw recently "He was award a prize". No. He might be "astride a prize", if it was, say, a prize bull, but here it's intended to be used as the passive voice past participle form of the transitive verb "award", not as an adverb (there is no "award" adverb). So it has to be "He was awarded a prize". I know we slur it when we speak it and the extra ed gets lost, but come on people, not when you're writing.

One more, that doesn't have the double-d and isn't tricky: "He gave back the prize that he receive." It happened in the past, "receive" needs the final d! If he hadn't received it already then he couldn't give it back. Come on, folks, it's an easy letter to type, it's right there on the left hand home row of your keyboard; use that middle finger (and not just to point it at me). Thank you.

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