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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Criminal Sentence 176: Not a Knockout

From a TV program:

"It’s time to knockout breast cancer."

A wonderful sentiment but not the right spelling. The noun is "knockout"--no spaces. The verb is two words: "knock out."

Go get a mammogram and then go get a dictionary!


Anonymous said...

I work at a news station and I see this kind of error all the time (ex. "Police want to crackdown on crime"). Please tell me how to educate my coworkers!

The Sentence Sleuth said...

May I suggest you ask them to read my blog? :)

M said...

This type of error is quite common. I often suggest my students revise to avoid the verb + preposition structure altogether. While there is a case for using certain words (for instance "knockout" is definitely more impressive and graphic than "end"), more novice writers usually haven't thought the sentence through or revised at all. In the example by Anonymous, the writer could revise: "Police want to stop crime." Another tactic is to carefully consider every word that could be two words. This strategy works well with other compound words that should be, such as "timeframe" and "longterm."

M said...

And, I left out a word! The last sentence should read: This strategy works well with other compound words that should be two or hyphenated, such as "timeframe" and "longterm."