Monday, March 29, 2010

Clean and Simple

In their never-ceasing effort to sound erudite and educated , writers dress up limp prose with big words and French or Latin phrases. I know, I know, pot calling the kettle black and all that---but one of my bĂȘte noires [:)] is when the attempt misfires and the reader is interrupted in his absorption by a jarring malaprop. Here’s an example from the sports pages:
[Stanford basketball forward Jayne] Appel, a standout water polo and basketball player at Carondelet High in Concord, has remained a tour de force in executing VanDerveer's triangle offense even as her scoring average (13.8) has dropped this season.
Tour de force is a French expression that refers to a feat or performance, like a Heifetz recital or an Olivier soliloquy, not a person. You can say “Appel was a force on the floor” or “her performance was a tour de force”, but “Appel…remained a tour de force”? Fingers on the chalkboard.

Please don't fancy up our sports pages. Most of your readers are guys who like it simple. Thanks, I feel better. © 2010 Stephen Yuen

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