COMMON PROBLEMS (in Chapter 4). These are some of the many words and terms commonly misused, misunderstood or mispronounced . accident : BE CAREFUL. Accidents happen all the time, but so do intentional acts. Don’t predetermine cause by a haphazard word choice.
These are some of the many words and terms commonly misused, misunderstood or mispronounced.
accident: BE CAREFUL. Accidents happen all the time, but so do intentional acts. Don’t predetermine cause by a haphazard word choice.
alleged: in general, don’t use this word. See Chapter 5, “Phrases and Phrasing,” and the crime and legal section of Chapter 20.
because, since, as: Because shows a cause-and-effect relationship; sinceor as usually reflects a time relationship (one took place after the other), but the relationship is more indirect than cause and effect.
boat, ship: These terms are not synonymous. A boat is generally considered a small vessel, although ferryboats, PT boats and submarines are exceptions. Ships are larger, frequently oceangoing vessels.
consensus: General majority agreement, but not unanimous. The phrase consensus of opinion is redundant.
crisis: Not every problem—or even every dangerous situation—is a crisis. Don’t overuse. Plural is crises (KRI seez).
die, kill: All people eventually die; some people are killed. Use die when death results from natural causes.
emigrate, immigrate: Emigrate means to leave a country to settle elsewhere; immigrate means to enter a country from outside.
February: Although difficult to pronounce properly, there are two r’s in February. See also library, hundred and nuclear.
firefighter, fireman: Although common in usage, use the gender neutral term firefighter. If you wouldn’t say firewoman (and you wouldn’t), don’t say fireman.
gay: This word’s only current usage relates to homosexuality, and it should be used as first reference.
good, well: Good is almost always an adjective meaning well-done, worthy, kind and the like. Well is almost always an adverb meaning properly (except as an adjective meaning healthy).
hang, hanged, hung: Everything hangs. People are or have been hanged; everything else has been hung.
illegal: BE CAREFUL. Use this word only in reference to a violation of law—and with proper attribution. See the crime and legal section of Chapter 20, “Reporting: Specialized Coverage.” ‘Politically correct’ issue: illegal aliens
mile, knot: Mile is a measure of distance (5,280 feet), as distinguished from knot, which is a speed of one nautical mile (6,076.1 feet) per hour. See the weather section of Chapter 18, “News, Weather & Sports.”
press conference: Most broadcasters prefer news conference because pressrefers to print media only, although some argue that the term news conference elevates most of these gatherings beyond their substance. Same with news release / press release.
some: Means an unspecified number. Its use to mean about (e.g., some one hundred years ago) is classic journalese. Normal people don’t talk like that. If you mean about, say about.
that, which, who: As pronouns, use who to reference people; use the appropriate choice of that or which to reference things.
Look ahead and keep looking back at these in Chapter 4