Commentary

Lt. Gov Forest needs a better proofreader

Malapropisms, misstatements and mangled verbiage are almost unavoidable in the fast moving world of policy and politics. When you have to think and talk on your feet on a wide array of subjects with a lot of people listening, it’s human nature to make mistakes.

Americans understand this. They elected George W. Bush twice despite his penchant for making foot-in-mouth statements like: “Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?”

That said, you’d think that some public statements would receive a slightly higher level of scrutiny — especially if they are in writing. You can rest assured, for example, that President Obama has people on his staff who double and triple-check White House statements to make sure no egregious typos slip through.

Would that the Governor and Lt. Governor of North Carolina employed similar help. McCrory’s official statements and releases are frequently peppered with flubs. Just last month, the Guv issued an official press release criticizing “President Barrack Obama.”

Of course, in fairness, when it comes to press releases, it’s widely understood that the official him or herself is unlikely to be doing the proofreading. So one can probably give McCrory a pass — especially since it is entirely plausible that the Guv and a lot of other people don’t know how to spell the President’s first name either.

As for Dan Forest, however, it does seem rather damning that the Lt. Governor — a man who sits on the state Board of Education and brags of having home schooled his children — doesn’t know the difference between “lead” and “led.”

Earlier this week, Forest unveiled a website for his new “super PAC” which he has dubbed “Truth & Prosperity.” Here is the first sentence of the three paragraph, 106 word opening statement (see below) that one has to believe the Lt. Governor read and approved:

“It’s time North Carolina lead.”

Here’s a tip going forward Mr. Lt. Governor: If you want to be a successful public official, a) learn the difference between “lead” and “led” or b) get a better proofreader.

Dan Forest

4 Comments


  1. Callaway

    December 10, 2015 at 9:10 am

    I’m no English major, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying, “It’s time North Carolina lead.” Maybe a more familiar structure could be chosen by using the infinitive and adding a preposition to say, “It’s time for North Carolina to lead.” But I don’t see how the past tense “led” is appropriate in that use. Yes, lead is also a dense metal and pronounced the same as “led,” but “to lead” is just fine in that statement. Am I missing something?

  2. NotmyNC

    December 10, 2015 at 10:10 am

    and you’re absolutely correct that you’re no english major. In the above sentence, the only correct word is Led.

  3. Rob Schofield

    December 10, 2015 at 10:19 am

    I hear you and am no English major either. I also agree that there have been many worse grammatical flubs. Said out loud in a conversation, such a sentence would be unlikely to cause many raised eyebrows. And saying “It’s time North Carolina led” wouldn’t be much better. Adding “for” and “to” would help.

    My only point is that when one is crafting such a basic statement of one’s purpose as a leader and politician, it seems reasonable to expect something a little more coherent than an opening sentence that amounts to a bit of awkward, conversational vernacular.

  4. Callaway

    December 10, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    @Rob, it is totally awkward. I do think they need to use “lead” to match the verb tense they chose for the second sentence. But yeah, awkward is right. Factually though, I couldn’t agree with them more! It is absolutely time for NC to lead on education, health care, truth, etc.! And one of the reasons we haven’t been close to the lead is because of these Dark Ages the McCrory administration and the Tea Party General Assembly have pulled this state into.

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