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LIGHTER SIDE OF BUSINESS

Compiled by John O'Dell, Times staff writer

Even newspapers are not immune from linguistic glitches, as noted by longtime PR and marketing specialist Robert Clay.

Seems that we have unthinkingly picked up a term coined by the real estate industry by referring in stories about Orange County’s soaring housing prices to the sale of “existing” homes.

Clay recently issued a mock press release touting the stability of the market for “non-existing” homes. In it, he wonders why used dwellings--those being sold by their first or second or 10th owners--are called existing homes. “It always struck us,” he wrote, “that all homes--be they new or used--did, in fact exist.”

They did. And they do. And we shouldn’t.

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