Thursday, June 19, 2014

A new homonym peeve: "throes" vs. "throws."

In her piece on The Real Deal about the controversy over Long Island College Hospital, Julie Strickland wrote:
Fortis Property Group and NYU Langone Medical Center, the bidders currently [in] the throws of negotiations with LICH owner the State University of New York, now have a few days to wheel and deal on a community-needs assessment. (Emphasis added.)
I suppose one could be said to be "in the throws" if one is on the mound, like Mike Pelfrey in the photo above, or addressing the Porcelain God after the ingestion of too much tequila.  What the bidders for LICH were in were the throes, meaning "a hard or painful struggle". One could be both in the throws and the throes: certainly in the tequila example; also in the baseball example when, say, the game is close, there are no outs and runners in scoring position, and the count is against you. In the matter of the LICH negotiations, though, it's got to be the throes, at least unless you accept the argument that SUNY threw victory to Fortis.

I'm hoping this isn't Ms Strickland's unforced error; she has a good record. Rather, I suspect it's the fault of a spell check program (as Twif suggested in response to my earlier diatribe against rein/reign confusion) that wasn't fed enough vocabulary to recognize "throes." That, or a really dumb copy editor.