Wednesday, July 16, 2008



Okay, so maybe this isn’t worth a bout of febrile fulmination. Bear in mind, however, that I never need much of a reason to fulminate in a febrile fashion and that the Sun’s treatment our language is indeed a very big deal to those of us who love the language. So I sent the below letter to the estimable Naperville Sun:


The headline festooned across the first page of this morning’s issue of the Sun leaped out at anyone who has an appreciation for proper English usage:

“To Each Their (sic) Own”

One is used to seeing our language butchered with depressing regularity in our nation’s newspapers as even vague familiarity with the language becomes a less important qualification for a career in journalism than, say, knowledge of the latest details of Brittany Spears’ self-immolation. However, in a town that prides itself in its commitment to education, the headline “To Each Their (sic) Own” is nothing short of appalling. Does the Sun employ competent writers or editors?

Perhaps this instance of the Sun’s glaring vitiation of the language in which it purports to write arises not from a lack of facility with grammar and usage but, rather, from a slavish devotion to political correctness. But who, precisely, would be offended by the use of the proper “Her” or “His,” rather than the “Their” which so grates on the ears and sensibilities, in the above headline? If there is such a person, why is the opinion of such a cretinous self-designated victim even worthy of consideration?

We spend a lot of money on “education” in this town; to have our leading newspaper so flagrantly violate a very basic rule of English usage out of either a lack of knowledge of the craft it supposedly practices or a misplaced need to genuflect at the altar of political correctness is not helpful in achieving a return on our considerable investment.

Mark Quinn

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