The Corner


A Little (More) Language

My Impromptus today touches many subjects, as that column is supposed to do. (Sometimes it just touches a few, or one.) I begin with Trump and Lincoln; I end with Jordan Spieth, the golfer. In between are China, Russia, France, and a lot more.

The lot more includes language: language notes. I think “impact” as a verb is here to stay. (Hurts my ear. Impacts my ear terribly.) I think “to advocate for” is here to stay. (We used to advocate a policy; now we advocate for it.) It looks like Americans have given up on “I” and “me” and just fallen back on “myself.” (This is very sad to myself.)

There is something else: We used to prohibit someone from doing something, while we forbade him to do it. “Prohibit from,” “forbid to.” “I forbid you to leave this house!” That’s how a parent might have prohibited a child from leaving the house. But more and more I am hearing “forbid from.”

Even from the New York Times! This morning, I read the following in an article about Bayreuth: “He is contractually forbidden from revealing details of what his ‘Meistersinger’ will look like …” Ay, caramba!

Maybe this paper is failing, just as our president says! This morning, by the way, he tweeted, “Wow, the Failing @nytimes said about @foxandfriends ‘….the most powerful T.V. show in America.’” I like the capitalization of “Failing.” Is that sort of like Crooked? Also, what is the president doing reading the Failing Times? Or was the statement reported on his morning show?

Here is another Trump tweet, from yesterday: “IN AMERICA WE DON’T WORSHIP GOVERNMENT – WE WORSHIP GOD!” I think the all-caps means he’s shouting. Also, has he become a religious leader, as well as the president of the United States? Donald J. Trump? As WFB might say, mirabile dictu, twice over.