A crescendo of complaint over a misused word

It has become common to see the word "crescendo" misused, but it is especially disappointing when it is misused in the newspaper, which was once a standard-bearer for proper language.

I am referring to your front page article about Sailabration, which said the air show represented a "crescendo" for the event and repeated the error by describing it as "a potent crescendo of Angels" ("Blue Angels add awe to Sailabration festivities," June 16).

A crescendo is a process, not a result. It is the process of getting louder. To use it as a result is as meaningless as to say a climb ended in an ascent.

The word your writer was looking for is "climax," "culmination" or another synonym thereof.

Leslie Starr, Baltimore

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