Steve Provost


About Steve Provost

Steve Provost is a copy editor for The Tribune. His column, “Defining Moments: How Language Shapes our Lives,” explores the power of words — how they can bring us together or, conversely, lead to misunderstandings that cause ever-deeper rifts in an already fractured society. Reach him at 805-781-7913 or .

Archive by category ''Steve Provost


    Moriarty scoreboard ruling sends the wrong message

    A bankruptcy judge ruled Friday that Cal Poly can’t remove Al Moriarty’s name from its football scoreboard, which means the university is being forced to continue identifying itself with a man convicted to defrauding investors of millions of dollars.


    Sticking a monkey wrench in the political money machine

    Prepare for the running of the bull. Singular … and with the second, missing syllable fully implied. Or running of the mouth, if you prefer. Both would be apropos in this case.


    How much do you know about history?

    Apart from my wife, I have two great loves. Fortunately, she’s not jealous of either one, and the two of them coexist in blissful harmony — often hidden away in concealed corners of your local library or bookstore. Few people ever notice them, and fewer still go looking for them, which...


    The Supreme Court’s redefinition of prayer

    In its recent decision to allow sectarian prayers before civic meetings, the Supreme Court served up a prodigious piece of irony that some advocates of prayer ought to find offensive.


    Problem fixed with a bandage

    Back in 1972, the late, great comedian George Carlin got up on stage and rattled off a monologue called “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” It turns out there are a lot more than seven dirty words. There are also what you might call the corporate curse words.


    Pronunciation problems

    Reader’s ear is an affliction suffered by those of us who gather most of our information by reading, as opposed to listening. We may see a word in print and think we know how to pronounce it, only to actually hear it spoken and find out we’ve been making fools of ourselves by mispronouncing...


    The great comma debate

    I’m a serial killer — a serial comma killer, that is. The moment I became a journalist, I automatically enlisted on one side in a bitter and protracted war over whether or not to use the serial comma, otherwise known as the Oxford comma. We newspaper copy editors are oathbound to seek...


    No crying in the Olympics?

    The International Olympic Committee sent a letter to four Norwegian cross-country skiers, reprimanding them for wearing black armbands in memory of an athlete’s brother who died just before this year’s Winter Olympics got underway.


    Get creative to save every drop of water

    One barrier to effective communication is assumption. As one of my professors once said, it makes an (Equus africanus asinus, donkey) out of u and me.


    Richard Sherman is a poor communicator

    Anyone who watched the end of this week’s NFC Championship Game saw it — and heard it. Richard Sherman, the Seattle Seahawks’ star cornerback, did what he does best (and as good as he is on the field, that’s not playing football): He embarrassed himself.

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