The prefix ‘pro-‘ was nounced dead Tuesday after suffering from what grammatical fessionals describe as longed strain and abuse. Officials have ruled the death a homicide.
“It was such a positive, upbeat little prefix,” said Dr. Elaine McKenzie, chief coroner for the Oxford English Dictionary and a lific author. “But there’s only so much twisting and straining a word can endure.”
Years of imper use and tracted, found abuse had a gressive, cumulative effect, McKenzie said. The final, fatal blow came Tuesday when the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, America’s leading breast-cancer charity, adopted a new policy hibiting grants to vide cancer-screening for low-income women.
“This was in response to political pressure from so-called ‘-life’ activists,” McKenzie noted. “That was just more than the poor prefix could bear. In what possible sense could hibiting cancer-screening for poor women be considered ‘favorably disposed toward’ life?”
Meanwhile, English speakers struggled Tuesday to come to grips with the newly duced gap in their language.
“It’s a shock,” said Stanford fessor Russell A. Berman, president of the Modern Language Association. “It creates a very large blem for English-speakers. It was such a digious little prefix, one each of us used bably dozens of times every day. I will miss it.”
Berman said replacing the slain prefix would be a challenging ject, but that the cess had already begun and the association was already considering posed alternatives.