Saturday, May 08, 2010

Groundless Regret

Is there anyone left in the Hong Kong Government who is fluent in English? The Chief Executive's statement denying that he approached Legislative Council Chairman Tsang Yok-Sing asking him to vote for the government's half-arsed electoral reform package ends with the sentence: "The hearsay is groundless, which we deeply regret." Surely he regrets the hearsay, not the fact that it is groundless? The correct grammar should therefore be: "The hearsay, which we deeply regret, is groundless."

Tsang, asked whether he'd been approached, responded that no senior executive of the government had put pressure on him to vote - which doesn't exactly answer the question.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I fear it is not just the HK luminaries. The standard of English today is something up with which I cannot put. I am as guilty as the next man of lapsing into shorthand but like you I do get irritated when people change the meaning of a sentence inadvertently.