Appears, or does it?

“Appears” is one of the best words for a reporter when he or she doesn’t know if something is true, or if it might by wrong, or if  it’s to express an opinion in the guise of news. It’s a favorite for foreign correspondents, who reply on local newspapers or interpreters. “Appears” can also be accurate, when it means that someone or something showed up or stepped out, and by golly, it’s right there, on stage making a speech. This can create confusing usage, clearly illustrated by the follow-up story about a couple of college kids who drove through a neighboring campus waving a Trump flag, as reported by the Boston Globe online, Nov13, 2016, under he headline: “Babson College student appears to apologize  for Wellesley incident.”  From this, the reader doesn’t know whether the guy made a personal appearance and apologized, or if he may not have apologized but it might have been an apology. If you read the story, you learn that a 400-word Facebook message of apology was signed by one f the students. But who knows?  Was his Facebook wall hacked?  Did he really mean an apology?  Go figure. Just beware of a something that ” appears.”

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