7/29/2010

May we see a new birth of usage accuracy

Mr. Rewrite loves baseball almost as much as he loves Mrs. Rewrite and Rewrite Jr. So it was more than a little troubling for him to read, while reviewing the trade-deadline buzz, that a team is seeking a playoff birth. Even more disappointing: It's on a website (check out the new AP style!) that employs copy editors. You'll have to expand the image below to make it out.

Yahoo!

Friends, the Yankees, Blue Jays, Dodgers, etc., are seeking playoff berths, not births, unless they are considering a most unusual promotion. Somewhere the ghost of Bill Veeck is considering the latter (Other suggestions, Mr. Veeck: live human sacrifice bunts; Labor Pains Day at the Ballpark).

Here's backup from the Merriam-Webster OnLine: birth | berth. Among other things, berth means a place or position. Birth means, well, birth.

From Bryan A. Garner (cue angelic chorus): berth - occasionally misspelled birth, sometimes with hilarious results.

Follow this link for the Google News Birth/Berth Hall o' Shame.

Let's face it: Available labor for copy editors is contracting. And how it pains Mr. Rewrite to imagine the errors he'll find after birth.

Enough puns for now unless the Community of Concern has suggestions. Let's clean it up.

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