Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Was Sam Sharpe hung?

Published:Monday | November 9, 2015 | 11:00 AM

The individuals concerned transitioned many years ago, so I can share this interesting story with you. I met the husband of the couple years after he was bedridden by a stroke. I'm not a critical person, but you couldn't help but notice that, although the wife was a fine-looking woman, her husband had no luck whatsoever when it came to natural facial aesthetics.

I remember seeing their wedding photo on the dresser and, even in his youth, nature was never kind to that gentleman. By the time that I met him, he was unable to speak, but he smiled all the time. He must have had a wonderful personality to attract such a nice-looking lady, I surmised.

However, on one of my house calls, I was asked to examine him for a suspected jock itch. It was then that I had to view his pubic region and what I saw made me wonder if it was more than his pleasant personality that attracted his wife. He was, as they say, 'hung'.

 

HE WAS HANGED

 

And so, on National Heroes Day, while tuned in to TVJ, I heard a commentator and saw the display that read, "Sam Sharpe was eventually captured and hung at the Parade in Montego Bay (now named Sam Sharpe Square)," I bristled at this common, blatant and repeated error. I don't know whether or not Sam Sharpe was 'hung', but I know that he was hanged.

The word 'hung' is often used, contemporarily, to mean phallically well endowed. But when it comes to being suspended by a constrictive material around the neck until dead, Sam Sharpe could never have been hung. In fact, no human being can be 'hung'; human beings are hanged. Pictures and other inanimate objects are hung.

Another common and irritating error made by many, including celebrities and media personalities, is the use of 'goodnight' as a greeting. People often walk on to a stage or greet their viewing or listening audience with a bright, "Hello, goodnight, everyone!" This is wrong. "Goodnight" is the short version of, "Have a goodnight". It is a farewell wish, not a greeting.

Morning begins at midnight and goes until noon. Afternoon begins at noon and goes until 6 p.m. Evening begins at 6 p.m. and goes until midnight. So, saying goodnight is only applicable as one is about to part or is parting company. Between 6 p.m. and midnight, we should greet people by saying, "Good evening." Night is used to describe a period of darkness.

My other pet peeve is with pluralising the wrong things in a sentence. This common mistake is made by innumerable celebrities, including presidents of the United States of America (I won't call any names). Suffice it to say that I have never heard President Obama make that mistake.

 

SINGULAR COUPLE

 

And there was this recent piece from CNN regarding the actor, Randy Quaid, and his failed bid to stay in Canada. It read, "Randy Quad's efforts to remain in Canada for the long term did not go smoothly, however. The couple were granted permission to stay in 2011, and Evi Quaid was granted Canadian citizenship because her father was born in Canada ... ." The word 'couple' is singular even though the word 'couple' refers to two. So, it should have read, "The couple was granted permission ... ."

Another obvious mistake made on air is this example: "He was the oldest of their two sons." The comparison is wrong; it must be the older of two or the oldest of three: Old, older and oldest.

It appears as if several celebrities and media personalities are subtly attempting to rewrite the grammar books. I can only hope that our schools are setting the record straight.

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.