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What For?


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It looks like a trend. In recent months:

WBEZ's Greg King referred to a "racketeering trial for" Jesse Jackson's brother, Noah Robinson.

Tribune reporter Rick Pearson quoted Illinois House speaker Mike Madigan as saying that, under a tax plan proposed by Governor Jim Edgar, the "ability for property taxes to rise will be taken away."

WBEZ's Karl T. Wright informed listeners that "local broadcast for Selected Shorts is made possible" by whoever does such things, a month after he reported that some critics had shown "some concern for the size of" the new Chicago school board.

The American Public Radio program Marketplace reported that there was "opposition for further aid" to Cuba in the USSR.

A headline above a story by the Trib's David Evans read, "Army to widen range for Patriot system."

The gradual devolution of "for" into an all-purpose preposition was probably inevitable; the language must be simplified if journalists and politicians are to continue using it. And a speech that talks about "government for the people, for the people, and for the people," though perhaps not as memorable as Lincoln's version, is certainly easier to remember.

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