Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Another Possibly Instructive Tip Regarding Word Usage

Here's an instructive lesson in word choice. The mid–State of the Union headline in the New York Times, at least at this moment, reads Bush Offers Broad Goals for Last 2 Years. Now, note the subtle meaning distinction here between the word they use, "Last," and another word that many writers often use interchangeably with it, "Past." The headline clearly indicates that they're talking about Bush's goals for the "Last 2 Years" of Bush's presidency, meaning 2007 and 2008. Were they to write "Past 2 Years," they would wrongly imply that everything we're tasked with accomplishing now should really have been accomplished between January 2005 and today. And this is, uh . . . clearly not . . . yeah, you know, never mind.

Still, the grammatical lesson stands. "Last 2 years" refers to the final two years of a period of time; "Past 2 years" refers to the two years immediately preceding the present day.

For further political commentary, I'm gonna have to refer you back to the Swear-O-Tron. God damn, I hate canned political speeches.


Post a Comment

<< Home