OK, you’re all as sick of my complaining about the NY Times as I am. But. What can I do when they keep violating the English language? Once more into the breach…
I didn’t go to J school. But. I strongly suspect they drum into their students the vital importance of maintaining a lively and engaging style by means of using contrast whenever possible, and even when not. I picture reporters waking up in the morning muttering “Although I will be going to work today, I will be taking the subway…” and going to bed with “I am currently lying on my right side; however, I will soon turn to the left.” Normally the incessant parade of “however, although, nevertheless, on the other hand” doesn’t especially bother me; I accept it as a professional tic. But. Read the following quote from Joyce Wadler’s article in today’s paper:

The wall behind Billy’s bed is a mural of Billy and his girlfriend, Mary Fragapane, who is also a painter, kissing, with the names Billy and Mary written into it. There are photos and paintings of Mary, a pretty woman with long dark hair, throughout the apartment. Billy says he did not have to white-out anyone else’s name when he and Mary started dating, two years ago, although, coincidentally, his last girlfriend’s name was Mary.

Didn’t it occur to anyone that the word “because” would be more appropriate than “although”?


  1. You are correct. As an editor, I would also suggest that Ms. Wadler review her sentence structure, then make changes to achieve greater clarity. This would appear to be just one more case of throwing the rules of grammar to the dogs for the sake of artistic expression. Is correct grammar not an art in itself?

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