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Grammar Repair Shop: If only this phrase would ‘go missing’

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Problem: I've been hearing and reading the phrase "went missing" lately. It's frequently in the media and sounds terrible! Is this phrase grammatically correct? — Joyce Prosser, Administrative Assistant, Saint Anselm College, Manchester, N.H.

The phrase is grammatically correct, at least according to British diction-aries, and most people do un-
derstand what it means. But that doesn't make the phrase any less annoying to some people.

Even though it's been used in our culture for decades, the phrase sounds strange to some American ears, as it does to yours, probably because it has English and Canadian roots. (You can find it in the British Collins English Dictionary.)

Solution: Grit your teeth and pretend you're hearing "disappeared." Like so many words and phrases that once were considered substandard — such as "impacted" and "proactive" — "went missing" has entered the American lexicon for good.

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