Extreme punishment 

Rosie right

This column is devoted to graceful grammatical writing, but the other day, Rosie read about this quest being taken to an unimaginable extent. According to the New York Times, a Russian high school senior, Anya Provorova, had her grades lowered, lost her silver graduation medal and probably lost her chance to go to medical school because she made an error in the salutation of a letter her class wrote to President Putin asking for a video camera so her class could film their graduation. Her sin: In Russia when one addresses a letter it is proper to include an exclamation point as in: Dear Rosie Right! Anya failed to use the exclamation point, and she signed the note "Goodbye, the 11th grade." When the Kremlin sent the letter back to the district officials asking for the names of the students in the class, the bureaucrats struck, insisting on lowering the writer's grades and penalizing the poor student.

We here at Style do our best to publish each issue with no errors, but if the hammer of a bureaucracy should happen to be poised over us, we would probably at least have a nervous breakdown.

A reader has suggested that Rosie continue her listing of silly and/or obnoxious euphemisms with two he found in newspaper stories. First, there is the change of the term rogue nations to states of concern. Admittedly, on the face of it, the change looks like political correctness run amok, but the State Department has made the change because it allows more leeway for dealing with the various countries whose policies we are worried about. It permits the United States to make policy distinctions between such countries as Cuba and Iraq. Rosie doesn't think this is a silly change, but she was shocked by the term antidepressant discontinuation syndrome that, according to a New York Times review of Joseph Glenmullen's book "Prozac Backlash," is used to describe the problems many patients experience when they cease taking Prozac.

Stylish Language: From Alan Feuer's New York Times article about the mob's Miami hangouts: "men with big cigars and women with tiny resumes …."

Let Rosie hear from you by telephone (358-0825), letter (1118 W. Main St., Richmond, Va. 23220), fax (355-9089) or e-mail rmail@richmond.infi.net

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