Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Careful Using Language!

Recently, a professor I know questioned the word "focuses" as the plural of "focus" in an article in the New York Times. She scoffed that the plural "as everyone should know" was "foci." I had something break loose in my long-term memory and thought my son the copy editor had once corrected ME on that same word, claiming that the plural did, indeed, include the "es" at the end. Of course, most people wouldn't know that unless they had some connection with the news writing business since the AP news style manual is not exactly on the nightstand at the Ramada Inn. Anyway, that was a mostly harmless (thank you, Douglas Adams) illustration of misusing language. Target was not so lucky recently.
The dress pictured above is available online at as well as in stores, one might imagine. The problem arose in the description. In the "regular" sizes, the color was described as "dark heather gray." However, when describing the "Plus Size Kimono Maxi-dress," the language purveyors at Target decided that "manatee gray" was a more appropriate choice. They could not have been more wrong! The blogosphere exploded with withering criticism of the choice of descriptor color. Despeite the fact that Target also uses this color to describe sheets and towels, the idea of women wearing something the color of what is commonly known as a "sea cow" set off a firestorm.
Target has quickly moved to change the color description, but I would suspect the brand Mossimo can be equated with "mud" at this point.
Choose your words (and descriptions) carefully!


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