Volume 1, Issue 6 -- December 5, 2000

Editors fail to “find” error
A Correct to: “Debate duo find success at Louisiana tournament”

After reading The Whittington Weekly, one may wonder if the Weekly staff actually cares anything about “real” campus news and simply chooses to “waste” its time chasing far-fetched tales of popular student interest because we don’t have anything better to do.

To be honest, I don’t know whether we really care or not, but at least we can offer the “Collegian Correction” as a form of retribution-just to let our readers know that we do keep up with actual campus events and even take them seriously enough to offer our criticism.

Let me begin by perusing through some editions of The Collegian from this semester. On the front page of The Collegian dated October 30, 2000, an article appears in the bottom right-hand corner with the headline, “Debate duo find success at Louisiana tournament.”

I find no questionable material within the content of the article; nor do I have a bone to pick with the MC forensics team (no pun intended).  In fact, MC should take great pride in the performance of Harvey and Goza in this the first forensics competition this semester.

However, the situation strikes me as both embarrassing and ironic that the headline for an article which deals with superior linguistic expression is itself in defiance of the laws of modern English.  That is, the headline lacks crucial subject-verb agreement.

I would like to take the next few lines and analyze this headline to determine how it could have been altered so as to conform to the regulations of conventional English.

Although a headline may not form a complete sentence, many of the components of complete sentences, such as subjects, verbs, adjectives, and prepositional phrases, remain prevalent in headlines.

I have already admitted that the headline in question lacks subject-verb agreement, so allow me to explain how I arrived at this observation.  Since “at” is a preposition, it must carry an object of the preposition.  The object must be “tournament,” because the object must always be a noun, and “Louisiana” functions as an adjective in this case.  Thus, the words “at Louisiana tournament” comprise a prepositional phrase and can be thrown out in our reasoning, seeing as a subject or verb cannot be carried within a prepositional phrase.

So we are now left with “Debate duo find success.” The verb in this phrase can easily be noticed-“find.”  The next question would be to ask who or what “find.”  The answer to this question will identify the subject of the phrase.

And the answer to this question is obvious.  Of course, the “duo” is the thing that “find.”  We see that “Debate” is an adjective describing what kind of “duo,” and “success” functions as a direct object, identifying what the “duo” “find.”

Recap.  The “duo.”  What kind of “duo?” The “Debate duo.”  What does the “Debate duo” do? The “Debate duo find.”  What does the “Debate duo find?”  The “Debate duo find success.”

Hopefully, you can now see that the way this headline is worded makes it sound like a kindergartener wrote it.  “Duo” is a singular subject.  A singular subject must take a singular verb.  The verb “find” is plural.  “People” can “find.”  “Birds” can “find.”  “Duos” can “find.”  But a “duo” “finds.”

Therefore, the headline should have read, “Debate duo finds success at Louisiana tournament.”
Weekly readers may now ask, “If you people are so intent on keeping grammatical errors out of writing, why do some of your articles contain errors? Huh?”  The truth is that The Whittington Weekly is an unofficial publication.  The writers most likely have no credentials whatsoever and probably do not even proofread their work before posting it on the Internet for the entire world to see.  You never know.  We might have not even passed English Comp. -- E.Z. Mac

The above article was intended for parody purposes only.
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