Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where is pointer, where is pointer?

Yeah, I know you've probably moved on from royal-wedding-land, but I didn't watch it, so I'm catching up slowly, via print. Anyway, I was checking the text of the vows the other day when I ran across this very odd report:
Prince William then slipped the ring on the bride's index finger.*
Not very traditional, and also not true, judging by this AP photo:



I don't know anything about the source, International Business Times, except what I see on the website, but it doesn't seem to have any obvious problems with standard English. But I don't think I've ever seen "index finger" substituted for "ring finger" before. Anyone else?

* I hope you weren't expecting me to complain about "on" for "onto." 

12 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

On her index finger! TOO funny. I love mistakes like that. They make me feel my life is worthwhile. LOL
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Linda Chapman said...

That is just irritating when you see mistakes like this from professional writers!

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

I always thought the index finger was the first finger next to the thumb...am I wrong? The ring finger is THE ring finger!

Karen said...

What I noticed was that he most certainly did NOT "slip" it on her finger (any finger). It got stuck on her knuckle and he had to twist and pull it to get it on. Watch this (funny) abridged version of the wedding and see for yourself: http://bit.ly/kUibnl.

Zhoen said...

I've seen that repeated several places, and no, it's a perpetuated error. Index is 3, ring is 4 (as US hand surgeons* number fingers from thumb to pinkie.)


*Not me, I just work with them.

John Cowan said...

Zhoen: Thumb is 1, index is 2, middle is 3, ring is 4, little/pinkie is five.

The Ridger, FCD said...

@Zhoen: I think you've made a mistake. I have never seen the second finger (third in your terminology) called the "index". The index finger is the first one to laymen, also the "forefinger" or "pointer", the digitus secundus; the middle finger is the digitus tertius (or medius).

F.HACHE said...

At least, she doesn't wear it on one of her toes... :)
I'm surprised by Zhoen's comment, as the French always use the word "index" for the 2nd finger (we like to keep things unnecessarily complicated, and I won't even bother you with the name of the other fingers!!!). Knowing that it comes from latin (Index meaning indicate), it's the obvious name for the finger we use to point at things. Funny that hand surgeons in the US should point with a somewhat unexpected finger! :)

Ø said...

How many fingers do you have if you call the thumbs fingers?

Morti said...

@ F.Hache - knowing today's society, if the index is used to point at something and folks are calling 'number three' the index, can we now say we're pointing at someone when in fact we're flipping them the bird?

Anonymous said...

*Jack Webb shake of the head* And that writer got paid for that work.
--Ignatius

Nancy said...

In traditional Jewish wedding ceremonies, the ring is in fact placed on the bride's index finger, which was believed to be the most prominent finger (or the finger closest to the heart, depending on the source). Modern brides often move it to the ring/third finger after the ceremony.

But I doubt that the D&D of Cambridge followed Jewish custom.