Misplaced Modifiers

Consider these passages, which I found in prominent newspapers: • “Only the pursuit of ‘diversity’ by higher education meets the strict constitutional test for race preferences. As a lawyer, I am sure that Mr. Obama must know this.” Is the lawyer the writer – or...

A Salmagundi of Errors

As I create these columns, I often encounter interesting errata that don’t fit into a specific category. So here’s a potpourri of miscellaneous misuses: • Recently, I read the obituary of a prominent Japanese mathematician. The subhead announced that he was “a curious...

More Mispronunciations

In an earlier installment of “The Language Perfectionist,” I presented a list of the most commonly mispronounced words, courtesy of Charles Harrington Elster, a leading expert on pronunciation. In that column, I pointed out that if you don’t pronounce words properly,...