From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wrong Verb

Sad situation


From a news story about Hurricane Gustav:
Before [Melissa Lee] left, she heard neighbors chopping down trees with chain saws, trying to ensure the tall pines that surrounded their homes wouldn't come crashing down.

Source: "Coast empties as Gustav nears: Evacuation hits 1.9 million in Louisiana alone" by Stacey Plaisance and Becky Bohrer, Associated Press, published in The Courier Journal, Monday, September 1, 2008.

Chopping down trees with chain saws, eh?  Usually, people start a chain saw's motor and cut down the trees. If they are determined to chop down the trees, they get an ax.

Maybe it's written the way people talk in Louisiana.  I know we say some funny things here -- such as "carrying the kids to school."  If that phrase ever appeared in a news story, it would definitely look strange.

My fuss about chopping vs. cutting is much ado about nothing. It is very sad that people were cutting down their trees to keep them from falling in the storm. That's what really matters.

4 comments:

Mark said...

I think that was written by someone who never had much experience with chopping or cutting.

Collagemama said...

Interesting about your "carrying the kids to school" expression. I've never heard it before.

Just got home from my school's annual Parent Night. The staff tried mightily to explain the morning car-line procedure for bringing children to school. We like parents to drive through the car-line (an odd expression, too) rather than park and carry their kids, or their kids' lunchboxes into school.

Genevieve said...

Mark, I think you're right. (And it was edited by someone with similar experience.)

Genevieve said...

Collagemama, "taking" (something or someone to a new location) and "carrying" are so closely related in Spanish that the same verb is used for both situations -- llevar. Curious, hmmm?

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