Tuesday, July 20, 2004

What once was lost has now gone missing

James Kilpatrick's language column this week deals with idioms -- namely "went missing," recently used in a Washington Post Headline.
"Went missing"? What kind of English is that? Idiomatic English, ma'am, and our language is the richer for it. Here the meaning is perfectly clear. Certain checks and balances had been provided at one time, but in recent months they had disappeared. The phrase cannot be easily parsed or diagrammed, but it crops up everywhere.
For a look at some of the hand-wringing "went missing" can spur, check out this thread from the Vocabula Review message board.

It's not a phrase that bothers me, but I think "disappeared" can usually work just as well. It's a matter of choosing the option that best fits your work. But it's certainly nothing to get worked up about.


At 1:29 PM, July 20, 2004, Blogger Mike said...

How about "vanished"?


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