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Grammar fails to match excellence of reporting
1:20pm Sunday 15th July 2012 in Your Letters
OH, come on, BFP, did I really read “code of conducts” printed in your paper on p.3, July 6, regarding the council’s powerlessness to suspend Councillor Bate?
Surely it is the codes that need to be plural here, not the conduct they outline?
Mostly I smile over the occasional slip-ups in English grammar that appear in our excellent local paper, but since I am on the subject, the one mistake that really makes me wince and occurs fairly frequently is the misuse of the verb “To comprise”.
You can certainly have the phrase “A group would be chosen to comprise all the relevant people...” or “A group comprising all the relevant people...” or even “the group would be comprised of all the relevant people”.
But what I frequently see in the BFP is something like: “A group comprising of the relevant people...” Ouch!!!
Surely as a verb, “to Comprise” should follow all the usual rules relating to their use, and the additional use of the word “of” here is wrong.
As the Bucks Free Press is based in an area that chose to retain its Grammar Schools in the expectation of enhancing the excellence of scholarship in local education, it would be nice if, in future, you might just be able to wean your journalists away from using that unnecessary “of” when the word “comprising” can stand alone in a sentence, so that the grammar used matches up to the excellence of your reporting local issues and bringing them to our attention.
In that respect, more power to your elbow.
Incidentally, I did not pass for Wycombe High School, but I did, I hope, benefit from the excellent tuition in English provided by the Commercial Course run at the Wycombe Technical School during my three years there in the mid 1950s.
Judith R. Smith, Eaton Avenue, High Wycombe