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Whoops!

From the New York Times:

Mr. Obama's campaign itinerary on Friday underscored his strategy in South Carolina: trying to elevate his appeal to white voters — women, in particular — even as he seeks to increase his support to black voters who state Democratic officials believe will comprise up to 60 percent of the primary electorate on Saturday.
Except the original, still revealed via a google search, was:
Democrats Make Targeted Appeals to S.C. Voters - New York Times
... to increase his support to black voters who state Democratic officials believe will compromise up to 60 percent of the primary electorate on Saturday. ...
www.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/us/politics/25cnd-campaign.html?ref=politics - 1 hour ago - Similar pages
Uh-oh. (And yes, I'm sure I've done plenty of that myself, too; and people probably found it funny at the time.) Thanks to reader Paul Daly for the pointer.

Iymon:
Huh? Am I missing something here? The Google-cache excerpt is verbatim part of the sentence written above.
1.25.2008 6:26pm
Iymon:
Ah, "compromise", never mind.
1.25.2008 6:27pm
Thoughtful (mail):
It's still not right. Shouldn't it be "support from black voters" not "support TO black voters"?
1.25.2008 6:36pm
FantasiaWHT:
Yeah, I thought the "from" thing was the mistake at first, too.

Still, that does certainly quell those who claim voter fraud isn't real.
1.25.2008 6:37pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
I love the racial politics of America. Not.
1.25.2008 6:41pm
tvk:
Eugene, when pointing out these funny typos, please highlight the typo in some way. I had to read the quote three times before I found the typo, and I don't think I am alone.
1.25.2008 6:41pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
tvk: I thought about doing that, but then thought it would be more fun not to highlight the typo, especially given that readers know there is one, and would find it eventually. Was I mistaken?
1.25.2008 6:49pm
Lior:
Shouldn't "State" be capitalized? At first I thought the black voters were making a statement.
1.25.2008 6:52pm
Pedant (mail):
"Comprise" is still wrong - or at least, it should not IMO be preferred. It should be "compose" or "constitute". The whole comprises the parts; the parts compose the whole. Now before Eugene dismisses me as yet another dreary language dogmatist - we all know the type - let me hasten to add my reasoning, which is more than "My third-grade teacher told me so." I think it's fair to call a usage wrong when (a) there's another perfectly serviceable word (compose) available, and there's reason for thinking the new usage is just a mistaken high-falutin' rendering of the old one because of the similarity of the words, and (b) the new usage means precisely the converse of the old usage, and yet the old usage is still indisputably a correct one. Given that you can say "will compose up to 60 percent" with everyone understanding and nobody complaining, why would it ever be preferable to say "will comprise up to 60 percent"? "Comprise" to my ear doesn't sound particular better; you don't save on syllables, and you even have to add a letter. This will not convince anyone who believes that the sole standard should be usage, but I can't think of any other standard under which "comprise" in its new sense passes muster.
1.25.2008 7:01pm
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
I think I agree some kind of emphasis would be a good idea. As long as it doesn't comprise compromise your goals in posting.
1.25.2008 7:11pm
Bender (mail):
Why not just throw in a few "[sic]"s. A very polite and acceptable way of saying "gotcha" and pointing out how at the same time.
1.25.2008 7:30pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Pedant: I don't like "comprise," either, and much prefer "make up." But it's hard for me to say that it's a "wrong" "new usage" when it's attested back over 200 years. Here's the relevant OED entry:

To constitute, make up, compose.

1794 G. ADAMS Nat. &Exp. Philos. II. xvi. 238 The wheels and pinions comprizing the wheel-work. 1794 PALEY Evid. I. ix. (1817) 169 The propositions which comprise the several heads of our testimony. 1850 W. S. HARRIS Rudimentary Magnetism iv. 73 These substances which we have termed diamagnetic..and which comprise a very extensive class of bodies. 1907 H. E. SANTEE Anat. Brain &Spinal Cord (1908) iii. 237 The fibres comprising the zonal layer have four sources of origin. 1925 Brit. Jrnl. Radiology XXX. 148 The various fuses etc. comprising the circuit. 1950 M. PEAKE Gormenghast (1968) xiv. 94 Who, by the way, do comprise the Staff these latter days? 1959 Chambers's Encycl. XIII. 653/1 These fibres also comprise the main element in scar tissue. 1969 W. HOOPER in C. S. Lewis Sel. Lit. Ess. p. xix, These essays together with those contained in this volume comprise the total of C. S. Lewis's essays on literature. 1969 N. PERRIN Dr. Bowdler's Legacy (1970) i. 20 As to who comprised this new reading public, Jeffrey..guessed in 1812 that there were 20,000 upper-class readers in Great Britain.
1.25.2008 7:36pm
A Jerk:
Prof. Volokh is correct that the use of the word "to comprise" to mean "to make up" is not new. Whether such use is correct is a debate barely worth having—we could waste hours producing dictionaries and style guides on both sides of the issue. The more useful discussion is whether a writer trying to convey an idea unambiguously and efficiently should use "to comprise" to mean "to make up." The verb "to compose" and the phrasal verb "to make up" are available, unambiguous, and widely understood; the verb "to comprise" in this context is ambiguous and not as widely understood. What is the advantage to using "to comprise" in such context?
1.25.2008 8:03pm
Get A LIfe (mail):
You fellows all need to get laid.
1.25.2008 10:44pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Heck, Bill Clinton can compromise the other forty percent all by himself!
1.25.2008 10:49pm
trotsky (mail):
You know, having spent some years watching frequently updated AP copy come across the wires, the occasional appearance of a typo is not remotely surprising. Gosh, only now Google cache or blog posts capture them for eternity (or for the rest of the day, which might as well be an eternity in blog-o-time.

Ahem, not to be rude, but ZZZZZzzzzz...
1.26.2008 3:58am
DeezRightWingNutz:
So, for those who don't like the NYT's use of comprise, please fill in the blank with comprised/composed:

A. The electorate is _______________ of all U.S. citizens 18 and older who haven't been convicted of a felony.

B. If given the franchise, convicted felons would ___________ four percent of the electorate.


Would you find "made/make" or "make up/made up" preferable in either case?
1.26.2008 7:59am
alias:
The way of pointing out the typo is fine as is.
1.26.2008 9:36am
Wondering Willy:
Has anyone pointed out that 60% is 3/5ths?
1.26.2008 1:32pm
dearieme:
The band consists of seven players. Six musicians and a drummer comprise the band.
1.26.2008 1:58pm
pjohnson (mail):
A. The electorate is __comprises__ of all U.S. citizens 18 and older who haven't been convicted of a felony.*

*But note, this isn't necessarily true, because some states restore the franchise after the convicted felon has completed his or her sentence.
1.26.2008 2:14pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Amazing. The new Volokh thread posts stopped hours ago, and there is NO Volokh thread announcing Obama'a excellent South Carolina win. Or CAroline Kennedy's endorsement of Obama. Obama was looking very Presidential tonight! Obama is a better orator than Reagan!!

What, don't the radical right conservatives here like Obama, or something? The Volokh is eerily silent ...
1.26.2008 10:49pm
Lev:
At the back of the monthly Texas Bar Journal is a column by a judge. The column comprises submissions by various attorneys of misspoken words, typos in documents, and similar that someone felt were funny. The operative "humor words" are always italicized.

There are several reasons why they seem to be italicized, among them:

1. in general, lawyers must have no sense humor so unless they are told what is funny, after having been told they will be told something funny and before they are told they have been told something is funny, they will not comprehend on their own what the supposedly humorous bit was without it having been italicized.

2. the stuff has to be italicized to show the supposedly humorous part, because the supposedly humorous part is seldom even mildly amusing, much less funny, at all.
1.27.2008 2:47am
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1.27.2008 9:54am