Style matters #6: I’m not ‘biased’, so where’s ‘ed’?

blog-keyboard-workedI suppose I shouldn’t be but I’m always surprised when editing the copy of trained journalists – or, for that matter, grading highly educated university students about to begin their careers as scribes or professional communicators – that the word “bias” is so frequently misused.

You can see “bias” (only a noun) everywhere if you look for it but people are “biased” (either an adjective or verb), as in:

The material was cut on the bias.
She demonstrated a level of bias in her evidence.
It was a biased argument.
Are the outcomes biased against them?

My surprise, I guess, comes from the fact you usually don’t hear the two forms mixed up in spoken English, so why in written language? Or, perhaps, to those not listening close enough, the two words do not sound that different.

As a wordsmith and lover of language, perhaps my bias is showing or my ears are biased!


If you like what you’ve read here, you can see reporting4work’s similar posts at Style Matters


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