Bush's Critics Are Wrong about His Grammar (This Time)

Thursday, 15 April 2004

During his press conference on Tuesday, in response to a question about whether he had made any mistakes since September 11, Bush is quoted as saying the following:

You know, I just--I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't yet.
Bush is famous for his malapropisms and butchered grammar, and some in the press jumped on his use of the word hadn't as yet another example of his poor grammar. The newspaper The Guardian, for example, used the phrase sic after the word. This time, however, the transcript, and Bush's critics, are wrong.

Bush actually said the right word, hasn't, but he pronounced it with a typical Texas accent, which sometimes substitutes a "d" sound for a "z" sound before an "n." Just listen to how Bush pronounces the words business (bidness), isn't (idn't), or doesn't (dudn't). For that matter, listen to Molly Ivins, or even me when I slip into a bit of a drawl. Bush can be justly criticized for many assaults on the English language, but this dialectical expression idn't one of 'em.

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