Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Peeves: "A lot"

Professional trainers and especially cable TV news anchors who pepper their supposedly factual characterizations with "a lot" nearly give me the hives; that is, they bug me a great deal (a term which, while marginally more descriptive than a lot, is at least not expected to express a quantity).

A lot of terrorists..., A lot of senior citizens..., A lot of kids..., A lot of people... -- or that ultimate in folksiness, A lot of folks... Whatever kinds of numbers we are discussing, could we at least provide approximate ones with the somewhat more specific a handful, a dozen, one hundred or a thousand? I believe we can even use multiples of these, such as a few dozen, 200, 500, and so on. Of course, this assumes CNN (for example) is too lazy or incompetent to acquire actual numbers for its reportage.


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