Every now and then, things I hear in TV news really make me cringe. I try to stay as grammatically correct as possible in the scripts I write, and so I am particularly sensitive to bad writing when I hear it.
This morning on the Today show, two things stood out.
First, an anchor pitched to a reporter standing by live who would give us “the very latest.”
The latest means the recent events to unfold within a story since the last report we’ve heard. The very latest therefore, is redundant. Give us the latest and we’ll know what we need to know.
The other annoyance is the word meantime, not because it’s not a word, but because it is constantly used incorrectly.
How many times have you heard someone use the word “meantime” by itself in place of “meanwhile?” You can’t do that. It’s either “meanwhile” or “in the meantime.” You cannot use “meantime” by itself.
The next time you listen to a news report, listen for either of these. It shouldn’t take you long to hear both!