Tim Walker’s Grammatical

It was while listening to the radio yesterday afternoon that I heard possibly the most horrific public error in speech on record.

For the record, it wasn’t even so much the erroneous speech pattern that bothered me but the person behind it; if Judy Bailey is the mother of the nation, this lady must surely be the drunken aunty.

Family relations aside Hilary Barry is the glue that holds together TV3’s evening news broadcast and as much respect as I have for this delightful woman, to hear an advertisement play out on The Rock radio for that evening’s show; to hear the mistake regarding proper usage of first-person pronouns – “…so join Mike and I tonight for Three News…” – was simply unforgivable.

To clarify, the correct grammar would have been, “So join Mike and me tonight for Three News”. It’s not even that difficult to work out: which sounds better – ‘Join me tonight’, or ‘Join I tonight’? There you go.

The thing is I am aware that when news reporters, readers and anchors write their content, or have it written for them as it may be, they have editors to go over the lines thereby ensuring correct etiquette, proper grammar and ultimately, so the person reading the story doesn’t come off like a dim-witted twat. I understand furthermore that in some applications it is favourable to use colloquial or more of a slang dialect but in this instance, ‘Join Mike and I tonight’, it just sounded laboured.

The worst thing, this is far from an isolated gaffe. Ashley Tulloch is a wonderful reporter with her attractive appearance and over-expressive features, but she has made some rippers. I understand her desire to refer to post-match sports teams as having given anywhere up to 150 percent; that’s hyperbole for effect and, much as it infuriates me, I realise it’s an accepted part of broadcasting. I think it’s when, bless her pretty heart, she becomes excited and perhaps forgets her exact lines so no, second thoughts, I’ll leave her out of this.

Then there’s Andrew Gourdie, TV3’s other sports reader. Try as he might to channel a sophisticated manner, this guy is to word mis-usage what the cast of the Simpsons is to quirky catchphrases: I can’t think how many times I’ve heard him use the word ‘careen’ – tilt a ship sideways – in place of ‘career’ – drive quickly or uncontrollably. A car cannot ‘careen out of control’. A car ‘careers out of control’.

I don’t know. There are people paid good salaries to ensure proper usage of the English language is being upheld and quite simply, they are not doing their jobs.

This is the shit that keeps me up at night.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Hilary Bailey

Photography by Mothers T Nation

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