McCormick markets gourmet premium pure organic vanilla extract. They tout its quality by telling us that the hand-picked vanilla beans “are left on the vine for up to 9 months to ensure vanilla flavor the way it was intended to be.”
So then, what does “up to 9 months” on the vine mean? Does it mean that some of the beans stay on the vine for only one month? Does it in fact mean that only a token number of beans remain on the vine for a full nine months?
My curmudgeonly take on writing hardened by reading American journalist Theodore M. Bernstein (1904–1979). He was the assistant managing editor of The New York Times from 1951 to 1969.
Among his several books, he wrote Watch Your Language: A Lively, Informal Guide to Better Writing, Emanating from the News Room of the New York Times (1958). (My copy is still boxed up from my move ten months ago.)
So how am I doing in the writing department? Do I write better after hot tea with sugar? Of course, you wouldn’t know.
See Theodore M. Bernstein papers, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library.