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New York magazine’s grammar crisis.

July 6, 2011 \am\31 9:43 am

The “Best Doctors” issue of New York magazine , June 13-20, 2011, sporting a rather predictable cover photo of two babies playing with a stethoscope, contains the subtitle: “1,144 Physicians in Every Specialty.” No matter how you consider this, it cannot be grammatically correct. They can’t mean that each specialty has 1,144 doctors. Looking under “Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism”, for example, I count 15 doctors.


“1,144 Physicians, Comprising Every Specialty” would be nice and correct. Even “1,144 Physicians, in Every Specialty” is basically correct.


I’ve been sitting on this news for a few weeks, and now, reading a previous issue (May 30), I stumble upon an article entitled “Last Supper of the Food Hacks” by Adam Platt, about one of the final meals at El Bulli, the mythic hyper-gourmet restaurant near the Catalonian resort town of Roses, which seats 50 and serves 47 courses a night. Anyway, here’s the sentence I read:


Heather Graham was at the giant communal table, nibbling politely at her plate of goat, along with a few fellow journalists and a contingent of Japanese gastronomes lead by a mysterious gentleman who was dressed like an English dandy in wingtip shoes and a bespoke pinstriped suit.


Do you see what I’m talking about? “Lead” is an element, or the present tense of the verb “to lead.” But the past tense is “led,” which is what Adam Platt meant in this sentence. I love New York magazine, but I can no longer sanction their grammatical lapses. I must speak out.


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