Issue 206, page 3

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Barb Dwyer would send advertisers back to school

It's September and all across the United States children are trudging reluctantly back to their classrooms and trying to remember what they had so diligently forgotten over the long summer vacation. The stores are eagerly trying to convince parents that their children's academic lives would be incomplete without new clothes, shoes, pencils and even computers. The newspapers all carry advertisements to this end, exhorting us to purchase back-to-school items. So far, so good.

I'm quite happy with the original verb phrase (e.g. the children are going back to school). I don't mind back-to-school being used as an adjectival phrase (as in back-to-school blues) - as long as it's hyphenated, that is. But since when has back to school been a noun phrase? I am referring to such expressions as "buy your kids a new computer for back to school". How about buying them a dictionary, a grammar textbook and a book of usage rules, instead?

Have you heard or read similar or equally distressing usages?

Do tell us. 

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Last Updated 10/14/06 04:31 PM