Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper needs a copy editor.

My local newspaper the Sarasota Herald-Tribune ran a story this morning about the draft of a Laffer Associates report to the County Commissioners regarding land use and development.

It seems that this draft report is in favour of almost un-regulated growth (land use), as opposed to our current  "smart growth" policy which (amongst other matters) mandates that land developers should be responsible for the costs of new infrastructure (roads, sewers, water supply etc) rather than the County.

Whatever the merits or de-merits of the Laffer Associates report, I have a beef with Herald-Tribune reporter Jessie Van Berbel.

He, or she  wrote this "The majority of the Laffer Associates draft makes the case against "Smart Growth"   ...etc.

I have to ask Jessie and the Herald-Tribune "what do you mean when you say the majority of the report"?

Surely the word "majority" has to do with numbers, not text.

Maybe you meant to say "most of the report", or "many of the report's recommendations". For there cannot be a "majority" of any report. 

In a hypothetical case you could write  "a majority of the report's one hundred recommendations", but even that could be un-helpful.

 For if fifty one of the recommendations were in favour of a programme, and forty nine were opposed the word "majority" would be accurate, but it would not tell the entire story.

Dear Jessie Van Berbel:  In what I perceive to be the absence of a copy editor at the Herald-Tribune, I beg you to understand that the words "majority" and "most" are not synonymous.

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