As the newspaper business enters its final stage of life and newsrooms with clattering typewriters, copy boys, and ink-stained editors with green eye shades become a distant memory so copy editing and grammar seem to be disappearing with them. The sports pages are perhaps the most grievous offenders but sloppy writing and editing seems to be a hallmark of late modern journalism.
In this one story about my Nebraska Cornhuskers, Foxsports.com writer J. P. Scott confuses “weary” and “wary.” He writes,
Others, especially heading 2013, are weary of how an inexperienced defense could derail any hopes of a major bowl bid.
To be sure, Nebraska fans did grow weary of the frequently mediocre blackshirt defense last year but opponents cannot yet be weary of them—unless they are watching a lot of film of last season. Rather, Scott intended to write “wary.” To be weary is to be tired, exhausted, or worn out. To be wary is to be cautious or concerned. I’m not picking on Scott. I see this mistake occurring with increasing frequency.
Another mistake Scott makes in this story is to confuse less with fewer. He writes,
Despite Martinez’s propensity for turnovers, the fact remains he is a fourth-year starter in a college football world where that is almost unheard of. His grasp of the Nebraska offense combined with the playmakers that return around him make it easy to predict a repeat of last year’s offensive showing — potentially with less turnovers.
Turnovers, especially by the Cornhusker offense, are much to be regretted and avoided. Even though they occurred in great numbers last season (they and poor special teams play seem to be a mark of Pelini’s teams) they do not come in quantities. Water comes in quantities but turnovers are particular. Thus, a team has more success when they have fewer turnovers.