Thursday, July 06, 2006

Due to the misuse of the word "due", this post has not been cancelled.

There is evidence to suggest that I am a grammar snob. I adhere to conventions that more prominent experts on usage no longer follow (wrongly, of course) because they are obsolete. Of course, they are obsolete because the ignorazzi fail to learn them in the first place, and their misuse and abuse of the language supplants perfectly acceptable practices adopted by persons with educations who have given the matter some thought. I guess, at bottom, I don't like the idea of the use of the English language being dictated by people who don't know how to speak English.

A good example (or bad one, depending on your perspective) is the noun "loan". It is a noun, not a verb. The verb is "to lend". One does not loan money; one lends money. (In my case, as in Polonius's, I do neither.) (If you don't know who Polonius is, quit reading this and go back to watching your NASCAR race.) But I am rather lonely in my opinion about the proper use of the word "loan", even though I am correct. Unfortunately, my mother (whose two degrees in English outnumber mine, by two), my best friend, most people I have asked, and the vast majority of dictionaries and usage guides I have consulted say it is absolutely fine to use the word "loan" as a noun. The fools.

Well, I draw the line at "due to".

As I sit here, I have a phone bill in my desk drawer. So, some of my money is now due to the phone company. There. That's the proper way to use the phrase "due to". It's not a phrase at all. "Due" is an adjective describing the word "money". "To" is the first word of a prepositional phrase modifying "due". Ta-da.

But no baseball game was ever cancelled due to rain. No informal community college class was ever cancelled due to lack of interest. No regularly scheduled program was ever interrupted due to a special news story. The phrase that is needed in each of these examples is "because of".

Or "attributable to", if you have to keep the word "to" in there.


We stand here to commemorate our recently departed singular male cow, able.
He lived in a barn where he had his own room, and his own portal. It was adorable.
He loved to put on his camoflauge suit. He was indefatigable.
Sometimes, he would wander around inside our stereo system. He was inconsolable.
But then he swallowed some dynamite. He was abominable.
Then the dynamite exploded. And he was noble.

Your use of "due to" is no worse.

Update: My mother, she of Ph. D. phame, informs me that she, too, has no use for those Philistines who insist on using loan as a verb, rather than a noun, as God intended. Well, she may not pheel as strongly about it as I do.

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