Channeling Miss Grammar

I can’t imagine I am the only one who notices a disturbing trend among news reporters and anchors. In an effort to make their copy sound active, they add “ing” to all the verbs. I’ll give you an example from my own life. Here goes:

“Tough night for Sandy last night, lying awake with a stuffy nose and body aches, her husband hoping to sleep through the snoring, their dog getting away from all the coughing at the end of the bed. Sandy still feeling crappy this morning, complaining that she might not get to go out tonight for Valentine’s Day. Jim, hoping she’s feeling well enough to cook him something to eat.”

You get the picture. Next time you watch ABC World News Tonight, listen to the way they talk. It is a whole new vernacular. As many of you know, I used to be a TV news reporter, and I assure you we didn’t used to talk like this. Though I’m not certain what grammatical abomination they’re committing, I do know it makes my teeth clench every time I hear it. If you know how to describe this phenomenon in grammatical terms, let me know. I can’t actually write them to complain unless I know exactly what they’re doing. William Safire I obviously am not.


4 thoughts on “Channeling Miss Grammar

  1. Janet says:

    Me ,too, Sandy! . It’s even worse in an older historical context. “The Visigoths are sacking Rome in 410. ” Nails on a blackboard. Arrrrgggg!


  2. Jack B. Montgomery says:

    I totally agree with your observations about the poor grammar now being used on ABC World News Tonight. I, too, find it very painful to hear. I would like to try to identify and document some specific examples of the many grammatical mistakes being made in their news copy, in the hope that you might still be willing to follow through on your proposal to write them to complain. If you are interested, please contact me directly at


    • sandypoole says:

      Hey Jack. I have to admit, I quit watching ABC because the speed and grammatical “shorthand” drives me crazy, but many reporters seem to do this these days. Let me tune in again, and this time I will write down actual examples, so I can write a letter. If I write one, I’ll send it along to you and you can weigh in. I wish I thought it would do any good; it’s probably got momentum, and the powers-that-be will just call me old-fashioned. Alas, I guess I am. (How’s that for old-fashioned?)


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