Last call — bid & contribute to a great cause!

Do you have your bids in? No? Stop procrastinating — bidding ends May 31 at NY Times best-selling romantic suspense author Brenda Novak’s annual online auction. Writers and readers of all genres will drool over the offerings. All proceeds go to juvenile diabetes research — a cause prompted by Brenda’s own son, who has Type 1 diabetes — more than 1.6 MILLION has been raised so far! More from the auction website. 


My contribution: win one of those baskets in the window of The Merc, crammed with a signed copy of Death al Dente and Montana goodies! Cowboy Roast Coffee, huckleberry chocolates, preserves, taffy, lip balm, soap — and a custom coffee mug.

Join the fun for a great cause!

A note on usage: “the suspect”

GarnerI’m a big fan of Bryan Garner, author of Garner’s Modern American Usage, as well as a respected teacher of legal writing. I subscribe to a daily email service from Oxford Univ Press, publisher of his usage guide, and couldn’t resist passing on today’s entry:

“Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day

suspect, n.

A “suspect” is someone suspected of committing a crime. The person who commits the crime is a criminal (or a robber, thief, murderer, or the like). But in police reports it is common for writers (and, more commonly, broadcast reporters) to describe how “the suspect” committed the crime. Not only is this often absurd (if there is no suspect at that time), it is also potentially false and libelous (if there is a suspect but the suspect is not guilty). Unfortunately, the slack usage seems to be an infection that some writers catch from hanging around police jargon too long — e.g.:

o “When confronted, the other man punched him in the eye. The suspect [read ‘assailant’] fled on foot, leaving the lawnmower.” Jeremy Jarrell, “Woman Reports She Saw Man,” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington, W. Va.), 31 May 2002, at C3.

o “After being given an undisclosed amount of cash, the suspect [read ‘robber’] fled north on foot.” “For the Record,” Salt Lake Trib., 1 June 2002, at B2.”

(Looks like the Oxford email is an advance version of the entries on Garner’s blog, so you can subscribe via Oxford or read the blog, which has an RSS option but no email subscription.)