1/22/2008

Video Blog: A damaging discovery while parking



Mr. Rewrite goes absolutely loony when a TV reporter or a wire service blurb reports on "damages" from a tornado, flood, hurricane, etc. So you can imagine his concern upon seeing a damage/damages error in a major retailer's parking lot ("We are not responsible for damages caused by carts.").

The result: Mr. Rewrite's first "on-location" video blog. The retailer made out well; upon seeing the sign, Mr. Rewrite walked into the store and bought his cool new Flip Video recorder to document the error.

Here's the deal:
  • A person who drives his car into your swimming pool causes damage.
  • You sue that driver for compensation, or damages, to make up for your loss.
Per Garner's Modern American Usage and The Associated Press Stylebook, use damages when referring to monetary compensation from loss or injury. Use damage when referring to what floods and hurricanes cause: destruction.

That makes this passage more than a little annoying to Mr. Rewrite: "The tornado caused about $100,000 in property loss and $30,000 in damages to 36 vehicles ..."

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Unless this tornado caused monetary compensation to vehicles, Miss Tilly's flower beds, etc., the word is damage.

Google News makes it easy to cruise for those who didn't get the memo on damage/damages. Here's one fruitful search: caused damages.


1 comment:

Daniel said...

I certainly hope your rutabagas are OK.