The Daily Nation’s Continuous Poor Grammar
Submitted by A Fair and Balanced Douglas Leopold Phillips
I hate to return to this topic; and, although I may want to resist invoking his name, like the late Branford Taitt, these days, I am forced to read the Daily Nation (and the Sunday Sun) with a red-ink pen in one hand. I often tell my friends that the Barbados Advocate, especially the Sunday Advocate, is a far better newspaper – good stories, well researched articles and earnest commentaries
Now to the matter at hand. I saw this story in today’s online Daily Nation:
Shock as brothers die 2 days apart
by Lisa King, Nation News
AS THE JONES FAMILY plan a double funeral for two brothers who died suddenly in the space of two days, they are left with more questions than answers.
The Durant’s Road, Christ Church family are trying to muster enough strength to make funeral preparations for Shurland “Jonesy” Jones, 47, who died on December 2, and his older brother Henderson “Buck” Jones, 50, who passed away two days later.
Their sister Marlyne Jones, who spoke to the DAILY NATION yesterday, said the family was not expecting either death. In fact, she said both men were thought to be in good health and the family was therefore anxious for the autopsy reports to learn the causes. (LK)
Family is a collective noun, which carries a singular verb. So, in one instance it cannot have a plural verb and then a singular verb in the same story – see the highlights in red. Most of us know that collective nouns, like class, crew, band, crowd, gang, pack, board, bunch, group, etc. all carry a singular verb; but, not the Nation.
I guess some publications are more concerned with maximising circulation and profits, than being journalese-correct, factual, ethical and responsible.
Bad grammar, particularly where the subject doesn’t agree with the verb, is very pervasive in the local media. Their seeming inability to use correct English is mind-boggling. For example, recently, the Nation and the Sunday Sun (following their overseas counterparts) were reporting things like: “Barbados are batting in their second innings”, “he said the Barbados Water Authority are dealing with the situation”, and “the Chairman assured the public that the Board are aware of the matter and are addressing it”.
Lots of reasons for me to again fall off my favourite chair with laughter. Where are the proof-readers? Poor fellows, they really don’t know better anyhow. Gladstone Holder and Jeanette Layne-Clarke must be turning over and over again in their graves.
But hey, the constant absence of subject and verb agreement is not the only common error being ‘perfected’ by them. They still wallow in poor syntax and gobbledegook as they continue their crusade to undermine this administration by daily highlighting shortcomings and so-called matters of national import, as well as outright trivia and partisan copy. Case in point: two Sundays ago, there was a news item pertaining to the NUPW’s Akanni McDowell receiving payment for the month of November despite having been asked to revert to his substantive post in October. The Sunday Sun’s ‘story’ while purporting to be a genuine news item was actually a blatant case of the reporter editorialising with subjective comment and personal opinion, and a few expected Ws thrown in to give it a semblance of authenticity and credibility. So RIDICULOUS! All the basic tenets of journalism went thrown out the window.
One only has to read their lead stories everyday.They give prominence to the “bad roads and potholes”, the “reduced Transport Board fleet, late buses, and people stranded in the bus terminals for hours on end”, “poorly maintained government buildings, sporting facilities and playing fields”, “leaking sewerage along the south coast”, “visitors turned-off by sewage overflow in St. Lawrence”, “continuous industrial action at both ports of entry”, “persistent water woes” (like we never experienced these situations before) and “threats by one Rosalind (‘shut-down-de-country’) Smith”, “the Hyatt Hotel issue and Town Planning permission”, “BUT and BSTU militancy”, and “environmental problems at Combermere and other schools”. Talk about a partisan, politician organ!!! The NATION, tip your hat, take a bow!
But, they won’t publicize: the thousands of tourists who arrive here daily; the 6 Condor, 6 Thomas Cook, 2 Virgin Atlantic, one BA, and 2 Jet Blue flights that were on the tarmac yesterday afternoon at GAIA. We are in for another record year for tourist arrivals. And, while we are at it, what about the $M7 and other resources that were invested in our 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations that have redounded to our collective benefit in a BIG WAY. Many persons realized employment as the multiplier and trickle-down effects kicked-in.
Also, let’s remember the overwhelming success of Jimmy Cornell’s Sailing and Yachting Events, including the return of the much sought after, annual Trans Atlantic Yacht Race. Scores of sailing vessels have been docking here in the Barbados Odyssey 50 since mid-year, and by next month close to100 would have called. Don’t forget the temporary partnership with the private waste haulers to clean up the “piles of garbage across the country” that the Nation was highlighting. The place is now free of the “pile-ups”. To date, that arrangement has been a resounding success. The de-bushing campaign to clean our highways and by-ways is now under way; and, by the way, Combermere is being made ready for the start of the next school term. Work is continuing there apace. Can’t the Nation at least mention these FACTS. Anyhow, enough said!
I usually try to desist from criticising my ‘friends’ in the media, but I get incensed sometimes at their ‘foul-ups, bleeps and blunders‘, as they persist with their non-stories and solecisms, on the one hand, while their editors, lead writers and columnists adopt a holier-than-thou attitude and a partisan, political posture on the other. So, I can be forgiven for again jumping on my hobbyhorse.