Friday, March 28, 2008

R.B.I. and W.M.D.

I am fascinated by the English language. I sometimes get my ya-ya's out by examining common usage mistakes. The other night I thought of one while Bill Daughtry was delivering his sports update on ESPN Radio. He said that so and so "had 11 R.B.I." Quite often, I hear people say for instance that "Derek Jeter has 65 R.B.I.s." So what gives?

I got this from the Washington State University website:

Some people reason that since “RBI” stands for “runs batted in,” there is no need for an additional “S” to indicate a plural, and speak of “120 RBI.” However, though somewhat illogical, it is standard to treat the initialism as a word and say “RBIs.” In writing, one can add an optional apostrophe: “RBI’s.” Definitely nonstandard is the logical but weird “RsBI.”

The same pattern applies to other such plural initialisms as “WMDs” (“weapons of mass destruction,” “POWs” (“prisoners of war”), and “MREs” (“meals ready to eat”); but “RPMs” (“revolutions per minute”) is less widely accepted.

Confused? Well, for more click this.

Another one is when people say "I graduated from such and such a school," when really we should say "I was graduated from such and such."

The says this:

The verb graduate has denoted the action of conferring an academic degree or diploma since at least 1421. Accordingly, the action of receiving a degree should be expressed in the passive, as in She was graduated from Yale in 1998. This use is still current, if old-fashioned, and is acceptable to 78 percent of the Usage Panel. In general usage, however, it has largely yielded to the much more recent active pattern (first attested in 1807): She graduated from Yale in 1998.

Or is this all entirely too nerdy for you?

No comments: