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Wednesday October 28, 2009

Open Channel

Wrong grammar

IN Steven Mooney’s article “Out of the blue” (MOE, Oct 14) he writes that out of the blue is a phrasal verb. In truth, it looks like a phrasal adverb.

Then there is the word dumb which the author says is a noun. I have checked. I do not seem to find any dictionary that enters the word as a noun – as an adjective yes, as a noun no.

Furthermore, the author says that the word dumbstruck in the expression “I was dumbstruck by the news” is a compound noun.

A compound noun? I was dumbfounded! The dictionary says it is an adjective. I would go further to say it may be a past participle used predicatively as an adjective. – C.L. Lim, Penang

Note: My apologies to C.L. Lim and other readers of MOE. I am a bit dumbstruck myself at my seeming inability to have proofread my own writing. Lim is correct. As for the article’s heading, used by itself, out of the blue, would be a prepositional phrase. Of course, it wouldn’t likely be used without its usual context, thus making it a phrasal adverb. – Steven Mooney

Online errors

IT’S 5:15pm (ET time), on Sept 30 in the United States and as usual I would check the latest news in Malaysia.

To my horror, the headline was: “Barisan choses Isa for Bagan Pinang by-election”.

I guess it’s still early morning in Malaysia and the journalist and copy editor probably needed sleep. I just hope that didn’t make it to the print edition. – Ailsa

Note: A different, and correct, headline appeared in the print edition.

This headline appeared in StarOnline on Oct 13: “Women group object to Miss Dayak pageant.” – Martin

Note: The headline was later corrected to, “Women’s group objects to Miss Dayak pageant.”

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