Thursday, July 9, 2009

You say 'tugboat.' I say 'towboat.'

According to The Associate Press, there are too many inexperienced tugboat pilots working on the nation's rivers.

I don't work on the river, so I have no idea what's going on out there now. If the AP had done a little homework, it would have asked how the situation is right now, considering the amount of freight moved on the Ohio River at least is down.

When I worked at the newspaper in Huntington WV, I was known as the guy who hated it when people used "tugboat" and "towboat" interchangeably. In this case, if you're going to write an in-depth or investigative news article, at least get the vocabulary right.

We once had a reporter whose first language was not English. It was told to him that he got the names of two fruits mixed up. His reply: "Grape, grapefruit -- what's the difference?"

Or am I too picky?