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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Safe Haven

There are certain words that should not be used together. (No I’m not talking about “we’re out of bread pudding,” though those words most definitely should not be used together.)

I’m talking about words that don’t make sense if you speak English. Which I do.

When I was in journalism school, I took a copyediting class that changed the way I wrote. And it also changed how I edited, which I think made me a more thorough yet less likeable editor.

Anyhow. Two words were nails on the chalkboard to my professor and are now nails on the chalkboard to me: safe haven.

I cringe at the mention of a safe haven. I want to scribble all over the word safe whenever I read the phrase. I want to scream, “A HAVEN IS A SAFE PLACE!” at the top of my lungs.

Sure, this sounds ah-mazing: It was her safe haven.

But what you’re really saying is this: It was her safe safe place.

Even Word, which never fails to underline grammatically correct phrases with its annoying squiggles, knows this is wrong.

So for the love of everything haven-like, drop the safe. Or change it to safe place.

The final end.

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