Today I listened to the local ABC weather reporter congratulate graduates of two high schools. One had “many distinct alumni.” I suppose that’s better than being indistinct, although I’m not quite sure how one can be indistinct. Siamese twins maybe? The second school was “Argon” high. I suppose it’s good to attend a school named for a noble gas, except it isn’t; the correct name is Aragon, pronounced “air-uh-gone”. And he again said it had a well-known alumni, Kristin Sze, then changed that to alumnus. Wrong twice. She is an alumna, which she pointed out to him on air.
Then came the national show, Good Morning America, where the news anchor used the term “massive” for four different stories: a massive fire, a massive data breach, a massive scandal, and a massive rescue effort. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong. These may be very large. There are plenty of synonyms for that: huge, enormous, gigantic, large-scale, etc., but massive? No. To be massive something must have mass, like elephants, boulders, or planets. None of these things do. At the very least a decent writer will have more than one adjective in his or her vocabulary. How about varying it up a little bit, huh? The anchor who read the stories, Amy somebody, probably didn’t write them, but whoever did should be fired for corrupting the English of our nation.