December 21, 2009

European Bilocation

In a newscast earlier today, NPR reported on the problems Eurostar has had with its trains that run under the English Channel. Service has been suspended for three days, resulting in frustrated travelers. The NPR newscast, referring to travelers who have been unable to board a Eurostar train, spoke of the “many who remain stranded on both sides of the English Channel.”

Surely an NPR editor slipped up! The report should have referred to the “many who remain stranded on either side of the English Channel,” as it seems impossible that anyone was simultaneously stranded on both sides of the Channel. Alternatively, one could have spoken of the “many, on both sides of the English Channel, who remain stranded.” English is notable for its flexibility with respect to word order, but altering word order sometimes makes a big difference.

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