Cokie Adds Life (and Sense)

Maybe NPR correspondents get paid by the “sense”?

NPR saint/matriarch and sometime seagull at the television news landfill of conventional wisdom Cokie Roberts (you’re better than that, Cokie!) commented on the Democratic primary on Morning Edition today.

I was disappointed to hear the following at the very top of her “three-way” with Renee Montagne and Steve Inskeep:

“…because there’s a lot of sense that these primaries tomorrow are the make or break primaries for her campaign and there’s been you know so much criticism that she’s is not human enough and these shows give some sense of humanity…”

Steve & Renee make the extra effort to avoid asking for a sense (thanks, guys!), but she volunteers two senses in one sentence anyway!  The initial one is described as “a lot” of sense.  What a bargain!

There’s a lot of sense among a lot of us here at Airbag Moments that the phrase “a lot of sense” is really unattractive, not to mention that it has a lot of sense of meaningless.  How many senses is a lot?  I think six is a lot, since we humans use only five.  But maybe a lot is more like a hundred senses.  I’ve heard that OT-8 scientologists like Tom Cruise and Vinnie Barbarino have that many.

Let’s decide on a new grammatical term for these “sense” constructions.  Literary style mavens implore us to avoid the passive voice, often for good reason.  I propose we should name these phrases that use sense in this way something like “ultra-passive voice”.

Any other ideas?

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