As has been pointed out on several occasions, speakers on the media quite often exhibit a less-than-perfect command of their native language––in this case of contemporary American English. This is to be explained by a deficit of reading and of book knowledge generally.

This fact was noted by Y-H-B today on the NPR show “Here and Now,” when an interviewee, a professor of communication at Texas A & M University, uttered the incorrect form “grasping for straws” instead of the normative “grasping at straws,” substituting the preposition for for at.

Imagine a professor of chemistry mistaking silver for gold in designating the abbreviation of the metal. It is practically unthinkable! But not so when it comes to maintaining language standards. One routinely hears mistakes of the most egregious kind emanating from the mouths of speakers of American English, who should know better.