Friday, March 05, 2010

I just can't stop being an English teacher

"I installed several of them in one gulp, including AdBlock—a great though dubiously ethical way to keep lots of tabs open without slowing down your computer." (Slate)

Shouldn't that be 'ethically dubious'? 'Dubiously ethical' sounds like how devil-worshippers would feel if they were inadvertently doing something good.

4 comments:

kenju said...

I think I have forgotten as much as I ever knew about grammar and syntax. Sometimes I go back and read my old posts and find myself appalled!

tinyhands said...

I don't think it's as much a grammar problem as it is word-choice. That is, either the writer doesn't know what 'dubiously' means or he doesn't know what ethics are. What's unethical about installing software that blocks ads that might slow down your computer? Unless, I suppose, you're a writer for an ad-intensive website.

inkawasaki said...

I agree with you; it feels like it should be 'ethically dubious'.

I also mentally police other people's grammar, including my own. ^^;

By the way, I'm reading back through the old pages of your blog, and really enjoying it. Very very entertaining. I've also 'borrowed' some of your teaching ideas (like developing my own 'general knowledge quiz' to force students to practise good pronunciation). Just wanted to say that. You are a good writer. ^_^

Simo Vihinen said...

IMO not incorrect but merely fanciful. Dubiously ethical is ethical in a dubious way (i.e. not necessarily, the expectation is it's going to be ethical but in this case that's dubious); ethically dubious is dubious in terms of ethics.