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Choose Your Weapons

On Saturdays, USA Weekend comes with our daily paper. Today’s cover story: Clive Owen – Dad first, star second.

A dueling commitment to work and family means he lives two very different lives.

I’m going to go out here on a limb as a non-native speaker: Even if commitments could duel, of which I am not convinced, wouldn’t it take two to tango?

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One Response to “Choose Your Weapons”

  1. Eleanor says:

    Well, for what the opinion of an interested native speaker is worth:

    It’s ghastly. It’s not even a mixed metaphor, it’s just an absurdity. First, abstractions probably shouldn’t duel, although I suppose they can if they want to. Secondly, it takes two to duel, so it should be “Duelling commitments”, without the “A”. And thirdly, if they did duel, the problem would be solved, since the whole purpose of a duel is the immediate death, injury, or withdrawal of one of the parties. So the metaphor is inappropriate as well as absurd and illiterate.

    I would also have said it was misspelled, but “dueling” with just one L is more likely the correct American spelling.

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