Friday, September 01, 2006


There's a lot of B.S. that floats around a newsroom that the average person might not care about, but the more literate among us find fascinating. A lot of said B.S. comes from language and proper usage. Here's a debate that floated around the newsroom, based on the following hed:

Brangelina staying involved with rebuilding effort in New Orleans

Staying was our way out of having to decide if it should be stay or stays. The subject in question is Brangelina; however, we couldn't agree if that is singular or plural. Just in case you've been living in a cave, Brangelina is a colloquialism for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. They had a baby recently, who has been strangely silent for a few months now. And the Mailbox thought it was a slow poster...

The AP Stylebook has this to say on couple: "When used in the sense of two people, the word takes plural verbs and nouns." Meaning that "The couple were married..." is correct, "The couple was married..." is not. So, correct would be "Brangelina stay involved..."

However, colloquial speech is not often grammatically correct. A night of listening to Entertainment Tonight will tell you that. They and many others often refer to a couple as a singular unit, ignoring AP's two-person exception. With that logic, it'd be "Brangelina stays involved..."

The Mailbox will live and die by the AP use, but thinks it is absolutely moronic. There is no good reason a couple should be referred to as a plural. When two people get married, they become one, in a manner of speaking. Why does a word meant to reduce a multiple to a singular still treated like a multiple?

As society becomes crowded with more and more Bennifers and Brangelinas, it will tear down this tired variation of couple. It's one of those cases where the option that sounds wrong is correct. The incorrect way will slowly invade our written word, getting Lynne Truss' panties in an even firmer wad.

Sorry, Lynne. The Mailbox loves you. Really.

hmm I just read this same thing about BRANGELINA somewhere else... i though it was their story... and really sounded fake.. now that i see it here too.. could be true... But it sounds stupid.. angelina should marry brad.. or else i am available anyways

i read it here...
That baby's got some attitude. I hope we get to hang out sometime.
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