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Readers queries help flush Vegas

A WORD, PLEASE:

September 12, 2007|By JUNE CASAGRANDE

“Would either of you like this?” a woman asked, brandishing a magazine at my friend and me as we sat by the pool at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. “I’m finished. I’m just going to throw it out.”

Her intentions, no doubt, were innocent. But when I saw what was in her hand, her actions seemed more like an affront. It was a “People” magazine.

“No thanks,” I said. “Someone might see me.”

In an instant, her posture, her voice, her facial expression changed.

“I know,” she said in hushed tones. “I’d never normally read something like this. Today I even read a Cosmo.”

It was clear she was one of us — “us” being people who consider ourselves too brainy to read celebrity rags but who are clearly not brainy enough to avoid dropping $50 on three-card poker or spending all day scorching ourselves in the sun on a 115-degree afternoon. So, after we all got in the requisite gasps and giggles, I offered some kind words.

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“Don’t worry,” I told her. “What gets read in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Las Vegas is not a literary town. It’s a place where the word “book” is never spoken except after the word “sports.”

Yet, as much as I’d like to pretend I’m intellectually above it all, I can’t change the fact that I just spent three days doing stuff like riding a water slide through a shark tank (yes, really) and taking in a Wayne Brady show.

So, with my brain still stuck in “off” mode, I turn to readers for some grammar-column ideas.

Take Corky in Burbank. Corky recently got an e-mail in which a client or colleague repeatedly used the term “In regards to.”

“Shouldn’t it be ‘in regard to’?” Corky asked. “The whole regards/regard thing drives me nuts.”

Not with-it enough to offer any of my own insights, I turned to my team of experts for answers.

“‘In regard to.’ This is the phrase, not ‘in regards to,’” according to “Chicago Manual of Style.”

“The singular noun is correct,” according to “Garner’s Modern American Usage.”

“‘In regard to.’ Often wrongly written ‘in regards to,’” reads “The Elements of Style.”

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