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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Vox vs Vox And also "and" vs "AND

I think that Zack Beauchamp and Matt Yglesias are both wonderful bloggers. Also Yglesias sent me to Beuchamp's latest. However, I think they need to have a talk about the exact meaning of "and."

Beuchamp just wrote "James O’Keefe had dressed up as a pimp and taped himself asking employees at the liberal community organizing group ACORN for help setting up a brothel. "

Now that use of "and" is consistent with formal logic. O'Keefe did indeed do both of those things. However, it is not correct given ordinary English usage of "and" as explained by Yglesias

When it was pointed out to Hoyt that this is false, he replied — with emphasis in the original — that

“The story says O’Keefe dressed up as a pimp and trained his hidden camera on Acorn counselors. It does not say he did those two things at the same time.”

Look. The New York Times is a great newspaper. Its writers and editors are familiar with communication in the English language. So is Hoyt. The writers and editors who worked on that story screwed up. It’s bad to screw up. But it’s not the worst thing in the world. To have the error pointed out to you and somehow pretend that the error wasn’t made is, however, unforgivable. Nobody can seriously maintain that the sentence as written doesn’t convey simultaneity.

And also by Neddy Merril

By the way, this is the first time I've read of O'Keefe discussing setting up a brothel.

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