Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Joe Biden, the News Journal and the Schoolmarms

The members of the News Journal editorial board perhaps thought they would endear themselves to Delaware's schoolmarms by objecting to Joe Biden's careless profanity yesterday. But I don't think their headline will impress many English teachers:
Dear Joe: Parse your words when near a microphone
Merriam Webster defines the verb parse as:
transitive verb
1 a : to resolve (as a sentence) into component parts of speech and describe them grammatically b : to describe grammatically by stating the part of speech and explaining the inflection and syntactical relationships
2 : to examine in a minute way : analyze critically
intransitive verb
1 : to give a grammatical description of a word or a group of words
2 : to admit of being parsed
The editorial, which describes Biden's comment as "a little too pithy," does not call on him to break down his comment into its component parts. I don't think the schoolmarms are impressed.

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