Because politicians get so much news coverage, and because not all are created linguistically equal, they provide examples galore of eloquence as well as coming up short of eloquence. My ruthless editor eyes and ears continuously scan for all things grammatical.
In a recent interview, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in talking about the immigrant-children-crossing-the-border crisis, presented a perfect teaching moment.
Perry spoke of “staunching the flow” of these children and taking “a different tact” to solving the problem.
As he famously uttered in a presidential debate: oops.
Staunch: loyal and committed in attitude; synonyms are stalwart, loyal, faithful, committed, devoted dedicated
What Gov Perry should have said is “stanching the flow.”
Stanch: stop or restrict the flow of blood from a wound; to stop or check something in its course
Tact: adroitness and sensitivity in dealing with others or with difficult issues; synonyms are diplomacy, sensitivity, understanding, consideration, prudence
I suspect he meant to use tack: change course by turning a boat’s head into and through the wind; synonyms are change direction, change course, swerve or zigzag
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