"This is a newspaper, not a low-level grammar class."

New Respect

The article about San Diego lobster fisherman by Siobhan Braun (“99% of What We Catch We Throw Back”), was enjoyed by everyone at our house. The author gave a fascinating insight into the life of a commercial fisherman, and lobster season in San Diego, by taking to the sea for a day. This really gave the story a personal touch with great detail.

We have new insight into the Lobster Monitoring Project, the Marine Life Protection Act and the hard work of our local fishing industry. Next time we see a lobster fisherman checking his traps at sea, we will pause with new respect.

  • Cherie Eyer
  • Carlsbad

Tap to Drain

On the water shortage (News Ticker: “Reduce Water and Continue Building? Huh?”), nothing is said that I’ve read or heard about the waste of water by everyone doing kitchen work, or using the potty.

California in five years? Good chance of such a drought.

California in five years? Good chance of such a drought.

I long ago noticed that about 95% of the water out of the faucet is wasted; it goes from tap to drain, contributing nothing to the task, whatever it is. I do not speak of the shower, though it is known that there is lots of waste in showering when there should not be. I speak of washing dishes, or whatever the task may be where the water is on full power, even while not using any of it. Sometimes for minutes.

I suspect that the water shortage could be resolved simply by everyone reducing the total water they use. First, by slowing down the running water to a trickle without affecting the job, and, second, by not running water while shaving, washing one’s hands, etc.

In an apartment, I have to pay $30 beyond rent [for water], and I know that my neighbors must be using ten times as much as I do. It irritates me that nothing of this is said by the governor or media!

Let it be voluntary, and when you see a person in a business, a building, or the gym pouring water down the drain at the speed of lightning, turn it off for him/her, and angrily say, “Please!”

  • Saul Harmon Gritz
  • Hillcrest

WWIII Is Upon Us

Your April 9 Sheep and Goats article, “Al-Husayn ibn Mansure al-Hallaj,” did not explain that Hallaj came to believe in Jesus Christ.

He was executed, it is true. First the Muslims cut off his hands and his feet, then they crucified him. He remained steadfast and calm until death.

On the same page there is an announcement on the Armenian genocide, perpetrated on an innocent and Christian people by the Muslim Turks. If only Americans would realize that World War III is already upon us. If only we would awaken to this fact.

  • Name Withheld
  • via voicemail

How Picayune

Regarding the April 9 letter to the editor titled, “Preventative Police.” No wonder Name Withheld withheld his/her name.

The word “preventative” is in my Webster’s 20th Century Unabridged New World Dictionary and means “preventive.” “Preventative” is also recognized by Microsoft Word 2003, which has a limited dictionary.

How picayune a subject, (meaning trivial) this is to write a letter about. If you can understand the thought, the word is acceptable. This is a newspaper, not a low-level grammar class.

  • Dee Bratspies
  • Otay Mesa

Preventive v. Preventative

I am writing this letter in response to “Preventative Police” (Letters, April 8).

Well, Mr. Smarty Pants, there is a word, “preventative.” Like you said, Google it!

I love it when someone writes a page-long letter bitching and complaining about someone using a word that supposedly doesn’t exist.

I have some advice. Get the facts before you open your trap. Here’s some info you may have missed:

Preventive is the original adjective corresponding to prevent, but preventative has gained ground and is now a common variant. The two share all their definitions.

As of early 2013, preventive is about three times as common as preventative in general web searches. The prevalence of the shorter form is seen throughout the English-speaking world, but the longer form is especially common outside North America. In British news stories from 2012, for instance, the ratio of preventive to preventative was very nearly 1:1, while it was almost 10:1 in U.S. news stories from the same period.

Since publishing this post, we’ve received comments saying that preventive is an adjective and preventative is a noun. This would be a useful distinction, but it is not consistently borne out in practice. Moreover, we find no English reference sources that make the distinction, and those that mention the issue at all simply recommend preventive over preventative without differentiating them.

Perhaps you can apologize to the Reader and Elizabeth Salaam.

Just the facts!

  • Dave M.
  • City Heights


Re: “Tributes to Steve Kowit

I’m not sure if I ever met Steve Kowit. His father and mine, though brothers, didn’t see much of each other when Steve and I were children in Brooklyn and Long Island.

Then, two years ago, a friend in England sent an email to Mary Kowit. It went to Steve’s wife, Mary Kowit, who kindly forwarded it to my wife, Mary Kowit. That led to me writing to Steve, and to a correspondence that quickly became a loving friendship between two first cousins.

Steve Kowit reads his poem "Cherish"

I watched a video of him reading his poem, “Cherish.” When the poem mentioned “Sally and Gertie,” I realized that probably no one in the room listening knew who they were — our aunts — and, even if they did, they would, of course, not have my memory of those voices from 60 years ago.

Perhaps a year later, Steve asked to have one of my paintings on his new book, Cherish. I’d been looking forward to seeing both our names together on the book (his in big print on the front, mine in little print, perhaps on the back) and visiting him and Mary someday.

Steve, I will miss you. Hugs and love.

  • Joel Kowit
  • Lexington, MA

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RE: The Saul Gritz comment about someone "pouring water down the drain at the speed of lightning." Not only is that a silly exaggeration, it's impossible. A lightning bolt moves at about 224,000 mph (3,700 miles per second).

Preventative. I'm at a complete loss to figure how that word could possibly piss anyone off. So many things go on, this planet is so full of trouble. You can find plenty of worthwhile screw-ups to get mad about, no need to go on about a word that confuses you for whatever reason. Preventative. I'm about to make that my new motto.

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