I reckon I aim to tell you that it is set to happen (From the cranky editor files)

December 24, 2010

I don’t “aim to” do things in my stories. When I was growing up, the people who said they “aim to” do things invariably were born and raised in the South. It might come naturally to Texans and Floridians, but in all uses in our stories, it sounds like rednecks or cowboys talking. I remember water-skiing (badly) in DeLeon Springs off the St John’s River in Florida when I was 14. Karen, the girl who took us out in the boat, kept “aimin’ for to do” this and that. Nice girl, but she was born chicken-fried if you know what I mean. If I want southern and I want news, I’ll take Holly Hunter’s diction in “Broadcast News” instead. I’d rather we “planned” to do things or “wanted” to do things. But I see “aims to” all the time.

The same goes for “is to.” Microsoft “is to announce” or “is set to announce.” Nice scoop, nice matcher, whatever it is. But I’m sneering anyway because it strikes my ear as a combination of lame, high-handed and, well, English. Let’s be strong in our words if we can. Stronger than this never-edited peeve essay, at least.

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