Saturday, August 01, 2009

On balance

This is more of a feature than a bug:

The latest crime-fighting gadget, a cigar-sized camera attached to a police helmet, has gone up in smoke after problems with its batteries setting* on fire.

*Isn't that rather tortured syntax? "Batteries setting on fire"? Setting what on fire?

UPDATE: I wish my grammar was better. What is that? A reflexive use of the present participle?


Mr Eugenides said...

Americans say "catching on fire" - maybe the Telegraph hack in question is angling for a summer job on the New York Times.

The Pedant's Apprentice said...

I wish your grammar were better.

Peter Risdon said...

Absolutely. The subjunctive.

Anonymous said...

PR: "its batteries setting* on fire."

How about, "spontaneously combusting"?

Anonymous said...

Mr. E.: "Americans say "catching on fire"."

Or, how about "bursting into flames".?