Wednesday, July 29, 2015

substance-free: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Wednesday, July 29, 2015

An administrator at our university once announced that his goal was a “substance-free” campus, which I suppose fit in with the fad of the period for “virtual education.” What he really meant was, of course, a campus free of illegal drugs and alcohol, designated “controlled substances” in the law. This is a very silly expression, but if he’d just said “sober and straight” he would have sounded too censorious. How about “drug- and alcohol-free”?

This is the tenth year of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.

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