THE Reverend Wright

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Sep 3 18:48:23 UTC 2012

Today's NYTimes obituary (not written by the designated hitter,
Marglit Fox) of the founder of the Unification Church begins "The
Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Korean evangelist, businessman and
self-proclaimed messiah ..."  Thereafter, the article always and only
refers to him as "Mr. Moon."  (The Times's style, I believe, requires
a title in second references, as contrasted with Klein's perhaps
style, where he simply uses "Wright".)  There is one instance without
the "the", but in it the Times is quoting Mr. Moon himself.

(I guess we'll have to wait two more days to see whether he was more
than a self-proclaimed messiah.)


At 9/3/2012 12:03 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>This describes my response to Wilson's question fairly well. It's not
>that I /object/ to the use of the article, but it seems overly formal
>and outmoded. Perhaps Klein used it in a mocking style, but the rest of
>the piece doesn't support this interpretation. One could argue that
>Klein was merely being formal, but that's belied by dropping the titles
>altogether in the rest of the piece, simply referring to "Wright". This
>is one of several reasons why I found the use of "the Reverend Wright"
>     VS-)
>On 9/3/2012 10:33 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>The customary formula -- it used to be "the Rev. Mr." or "the Rev.
>>Dr.", depending on the absence/presence of a D.D.
>>The OED has reverend, adj., 1.c.:  "c. Chiefly with the. Used before
>>a name as a title of a member of the clergy.In British English and
>>varieties closely associated with it, the use of Reverend directly
>>before a surname (without a forename, initial, or other title, as
>>Doctor, Professor, etc.) and without the has typically been
>>considered unacceptable, although examples of this kind are
>>increasingly common throughout the 20th cent. In American English,
>>this style is widely and uncontroversially attested from at least the
>>19th cent."
>>At 9/3/2012 02:34 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>>>I did a double take when I saw the first mention of "the Reverend
>>>Wright" in an Ed Klein hit piece at I thought, oh, it's
>>>just bad editing, a type sneaked through... But then I saw the second
>>>one... I guess, he really means it:
>>>>an attack on Romney's religious beliefs might encourage the
>>>>Republicans to reciprocate by reopening the whole tangled issue of
>>>>Obama and the Reverend Wright.
>>>>During an interview I conducted with the Reverend Wright for my book
>>>>"The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House," I asked the pastor if
>>>>he had converted Obama from Islam to Christianity. "That's hard to
>>>>say," Wright replied.
>>>I suspect, Klein was thinking of the Reverend Wrong when he wrote the piece.
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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