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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Um, I think you meant 'occupancy'

No, in case you were wondering about the odd title... the word in question isn't 'occupy' (we try not to use that word around here).

Confused?  Let me begin by saying I'm sorry... I clearly have too much time on my hands, but I just can't keep my mouth shut when someone uses the wrong word or makes a glaring grammatical error.  I do this to my kids all the time (and also to my wife when she isn't close enough to whack me with a skillet). 

You wouldn't expect that someone who runs roughshod over the rules of grammar and randomly employs ellipses (...) in place of commas and semicolons would be such a pedant about such things, but there it is.  Do as I say... not as I do!

I can understand if a person occasionally chooses a word that isn't exactly right, so long as it 'works'.  That kind of thing is a judgment call, and everyone listening/reading knows what you were trying to say. With a little thought, though, you could have come up with a better, more correct word, but it wasn't important enough to stop the flow of conversation and really think about.   

But there are other times when you reach hastily into your personal lexicon and pull out... the wrong word.  I'm talking about a word that isn't even close... one that leaves the listener/reader scratching his/her head and waiting for context to put the derailed sentence back on track.

I've done it... you've done it... we've all done it.  That's all fine and good because, hey!, I'm not a professional journalist with several layers of editors reviewing my work before it gets published.  If spelling, grammar or word choice errors slip through here on treppenwitz... no big deal.  The point I was trying to make usually gets across.

However, one expects more from a newspaper.

The Jerusalem post is good newspaper.  It's not the New York Times (who is?), but the editorial standards seem to be steadily improving under David Horovitz's editorial leadership.

However, yesterday while I ate lunch at my desk I was glancing over the headlines on the JPost web site and saw the following:

"J'lem hotel capacity seen to rise 30%"

Now this seemed exciting!  Anyone reading this headline would immediately understand that Jerusalem was undergoing a construction boom with an incredible 30% more hotel rooms being added to the already large inventory of tourist accommodations.  This was fantastic - the very signal the country had been waiting for to indicate that the Intifada was truly over!

So when I clicked on the link, you can understand that I was more than a little confused to find an article about the Hotel Association's predictions (wild guess) for a 30% increase in occupancy this year, not capacity!

My first clue was when the article stated, "Jerusalem hotels are expected to increase their capacity by 30% to 1.7 million lodgings in 2005...". 

Just for the sake of a reality check... Las Vegas, which has more hotel rooms than any other city in the US, at last count had a total of 17,205 hotel rooms.  Somehow I didn't think Jerusalem was going to have 1.7 million rooms to rent.

Capacity, when speaking about hotels, is used to describe how many people a hotel, or any number of hotels, can hold (e.g. "I'm sorry madam, we have no more rooms... the hotel is filled to capacity.")*.  Therefore, the only way a hotel (or in this case, a city) would be able to increase its capacity would be to add more rooms, right?

I was tempted to blame the error entirely on whoever wrote the headline since it's quite common for the journalist who writes an article to have little or no say in the headline that appears above his/her work.  But as you can see from the quote I provided above, the author (mis)uses the word 'capacity' in exactly the same way in the body of the piece.

C'mon JPost... I'm a loyal reader.  I really don't want to have to go get comfortable with Ynet.  I finally know where everything is on your oh-so-counter-intuitive site.  And I've even come to terms with your many idiosyncrasies (like the annoying fact that none of your pictures actually link to larger versions of the pictures!).

Otherwise, everything is just hunky dory.

[* Special thanks to my brother-in-law Jesse (the bigshot lexicographer) for confirming that I wasn't mistaken about the Post's incorrect word choice.  I promise not to 'go to the well' too often.]


Posted by David Bogner on March 15, 2005 | Permalink


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Click here for more information on capacity than you probably ever wanted.

And since this is an internationally read blog:

Translations for: Capacity

Nederlands (Dutch)
aanleg, hoedanigheid, capaciteit, inhoud, vermogen, wettelijke bevoegdheid, vol (uitverkochte zaal)

Français (French)
don, dispositions, aptitude, capacité, cylindrée, contenance

Deutsch (German)
n. - Fähigkeit, Kapazität, Volumen, Fassungsvermögen, Eigenschaft
adj. - äußerst, ausverkauft

Ελληνική (Greek)
n. ικανότητα, χωρητικότητα, ιδιότητα

Italiano (Italian)
talento, prestazione, capacità, capienza

Português (Portuguese)
n. - capacidade (f) (Fís.) (Jur.), lotação (f)

Русский (Russian)
способность, мощность, вместимость, емкость

Español (Spanish)
n. - aptitud, talento, potencia, rendimiento, capacidad, cabida
adj. - aptitud, talento, potencia, rendimiento, capacidad, cabida

Svenska (Swedish)
n. - kapacitet, rymd, förmåga, effekt, fattningsförmåga, bemyndigande, egenskap, volym

中国话 (Simplified Chinese)
n. - 容量, 才能, 能力
adj. - 充满的, 达到最大限度的

中國話 (Traditional Chinese)
n. - 容量, 才能, 能力
adj. - 充滿的, 達到最大限度的

日本語 (Japanese)
n. - 収容力, 容量, 容積, 能力, 耐える力, 最大出力, 資格, 力量, 収容能力

العربيه (Arabic)
‏(الاسم) قدرة, مقدرة, طاقه, سعه‏

עברית‬ (Hebrew)
n. - ‮קיבולת, יכולת, קליטה, מעמד, יכולת-הבנה, תפקיד‬
adj. - ‮בעל יכולת קיבולת מירבית‬

If you are unable to view some languages clearly

Posted by: Jack | Mar 16, 2005 4:39:48 PM

Um... In you're "I'm sorry madam" quote, you omitted the openning quote. Irregardless, they're isn't lots of other mistakes, and the post is mostly splendiforous.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Mar 16, 2005 4:42:46 PM

Jack... I know I didn't give you much to hang a comment on today, but what the heck was that?

Doctor Bean... Noted and corrected, thanks. BTW, I think you meant to say, "... there ain't lots of other mistakes".

Posted by: David | Mar 16, 2005 4:58:10 PM

it's funny you'd use an image for the tags, hehe...here are all the little nifty tricks that save you time.

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Mar 16, 2005 5:09:05 PM

mademoiselle a. ... I knew there had to be a way to do it, but I couldn't find it anywhere and was afraid to ask you (as per you 'dishclaimer'!). The link you provided was outdated but I found the solution you wre talking about on her 'tips and tricks' page. Thanks!

Posted by: David | Mar 16, 2005 5:30:39 PM

Jack... I know I didn't give you much to hang a comment on today, but what the heck was that?

I don't know, my brain power must have been stretched to its capacity because the lack of occupancy in there has me desperately wishing that some information would check out so that new and more pertinent news could check in.

Posted by: Jack | Mar 16, 2005 5:36:47 PM

Jack... Singing old TV show theme songs has always worked for me. If you need to dislodge large amounts of useful information all at once, a couple of choruses of 'Green Acres' should do the trick.

Posted by: David | Mar 16, 2005 5:51:40 PM

No mentioning of poop today! Weird.

Posted by: Alice | Mar 16, 2005 6:46:10 PM

That is a pretty bad mistake for a news editor. It's very similar to the types of mistakes I made when I was an editor, which is why I got out of that business.

Another fun place to see horrible mistakes is on this big glittering signs that form words from tiny lightbulbs. (What is "le mot juste" for that?) Recently I drove by a raceway that was advertising one of it's events, in six-foot high, revolving letters as "Exciteing."


Posted by: Jim | Mar 16, 2005 8:43:40 PM

Oh I do know what you mean.
And "like the annoying fact that none of your pictures actually link to larger versions of the pictures!)". Haha! Yes that is annoying!. I've started neglecting the Jerusalem Post for the new English Ynet website, I must admit it. It's just so addictive. It sucks you right in.

Posted by: Maria | Mar 17, 2005 12:54:33 AM

David...I know I keep repeating myself (but wait, so do you!) -- you got my dishclaimer wrong there. It reads that "you" can always ask me for tricky things and whether I had an idea etc. on particular issues, provided I am familiar with it. It also says, then, that I definitely won't act as people's personal assistant (or: freierit) when it comes to design them entire blog layouts / pages / company presentations / brochures /you.name.it for free.

The first is one thing, the latter a totally different. Please internalize. People could start to think I'm bitchy. :)

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Mar 17, 2005 3:12:10 PM

Oh come on now, David; This is Israel. If I had 1 NIS for every mangled occurrence of the English language in the newspaper (or elsewhere), I wouldn't have to worry about whether my hubby has work or not. ;)

Posted by: jennifer | Mar 18, 2005 12:29:35 AM

This is so pathetic. I've been reduced to jonesing for Photo Friday on a Tuesday post. I always thought that only happenned to other people. People from broken homes. People with unmatching socks. People with a wild look who never blink.

What has become of me? I used to be a productive member of society. Now the last few months seem like just hanging on from one Photo Friday to the next... It's all so cold and lonely. And the euphoria that each Photo Friday would bring at the beginning -- that's long gone. Now Photo Friday just keeps me from crashing, but the next one never comes soon enough.

I'm so ashamed.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Mar 18, 2005 8:25:56 AM

Wait a minute, I just reread what I wrote last night and can only say that my syntax was under the influence of having lived here nearly 25 years. LOL

It's like that old joke, "You know you've lived in Israel too long when you don't know what the word is in Hebrew and can't remember what it is in English." Regardless of the fact that we are English speakers, our house is filled with Heblish/Engbrew. :)

Posted by: jennifer | Mar 18, 2005 11:49:16 AM

I've been reduced to jonesing for Photo Friday on a Tuesday post. I always thought that only happened to... Dr Bean!

(I know, I'm too late. I just refreshed and it's up.)

Posted by: Tanya | Mar 18, 2005 4:49:35 PM

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