“What Would Lincoln Say?” Reply

Misuse of the indefinite noun “scores” prompted me to write this letter to the Washington Post, which was published July 23, 2011.  The headline above was in the paper while the one below was on the website:

‘Scores’ of tickets unsold? Try ‘thousands’

Published: July 22, 2011

“Big deal,” I thought, when I saw the July 15 Sports headline “Redskins unable to sell scores of tickets.” After all, a “score” is only 20, and “scores” usually means “we’re not sure, but maybe a hundred,” as in, “Scores of brides-to-be waited outside Filene’s,” something like that. But it never means “10,000,” which is the Washington Redskins’ rather amazing predicament.

If you need a short, indefinite noun, “scads” would be a better pick, or “hordes” or “a ton” (which would go well with “tickets”). But not mere “scores,” which is closer to the number of coaches Dan Snyder has hired than to his legion of disgruntled fans.

Richard L. Lobb, Fairfax

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