Monday, June 11, 2012

Common Error: "News"

"Breaking News" refers to a news story that is urgent or developing at the moment. The particular piece of news in the picture was the death of Michael Jackson. (Image by David McKelvey)

Welcome again to Mistake Monday! We actually talked about today's Common Error a few times in my class last week, so I thought it would be appropriate to mention it here. It's also easy to correct:

Common Error: Use of the word "news"
DON’T say this:"Did you hear the new? Joan is pregnant!"
"That's a very sad new."
"That's a very sad news."
WHY?-This is confusing because noticias in Spanish is usually translated as "news" in English. And that's correct, but only when it's plural.

-"the news" is an idea or a concept (not something physical), and we treat it like a plural noun in English. For example:

"I got some good news at work today--they're going to give me a raise!"
"I watch the news on TV and read the newspaper every day."

-If we need to make this idea singular, we can't count "news" since it's an abstract idea. Instead, we can add the phrase "a piece of":

"I got an annoying piece of news from the bank: my account is overdrawn."

But even in this case, it's still more common to treat the world as a plural and use the word "some":

"I got some annoying news from the bank: my account is overdrawn." 

BONUS TIP! The word "new" exists in English, of course, but it's only used as an adjective (descriptive word) that means the opposite of "old" or "used." 
INSTEAD, SAY THIS:-"Did you hear the news? Joan is pregnant!"
-"That's some very sad news."
OR
-"That's a very sad piece of news."

That's it for today! If you have questions or comments, please leave a comment or contact me. Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

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-Ryan