Monday, 31 December 2007
Another superb effort by Andy Gray on last night's The Last Word.
Whilst discussing Blackburn Rovers striker Roque Santa Cruz's talents for off-the-ball movement, Gray deployed the following sentence:
From time to time, he's always on the move.
Would... you... believe it... Richard.
Yesterday's word of the day from dictionary.com was a cracker. I also think it's rather fitting for New Year's Eve.
bibulous \BIB-yuh-luhs\, adjective:Have a good one.
1. Of, pertaining to, marked by, or given to the consumption of alcoholic drink.
2. Readily absorbing fluids or moisture.
Sunday, 30 December 2007
Submitted via a direct Twitter message by Jeremy, who comments:
I thought you might like this one; by far the worst apostrophe abuse I have ever seen.I think this is made worse by the fact the "agent of the new" has neglected to use apostrophes to acknowledge the missing letters either side of the 'n'.
Also, what the hell does "sweet and things" mean?
Wednesday, 26 December 2007
In a way, we should thank the Romans for our annual excuse to eat and drink too much. If they hadn't got uppity with a certain beardy upstart and seen fit to nail him to a cross we would have never had cause to celebrate his birth.
Still, I'll never forgive them for crucifying Santa.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you, dear readers, for the support since GrammarBlog launched only 8 months ago. We're planning a few changes in the near future, all for your benefit, and I hope you will continue to enjoy reading the blog as much as we enjoy writing it. A special thank you goes out to all those who have contributed and commented, please continue to do so.
Before I have to get back to drunkenly rowing with relatives and falling asleep in front of Indiana Jones I have just enough time to present to you the entries for our Grammar Abuse in Signage Xmas special. (I really regret using 'Xmas'. I was kind of joking when I did so but every time I write it, a part of my soul dies – which is less than ideal.)
So without further ado, here they are – starting with the winning entry.
Sent in by Daniel. Quotation marks for emphasis should get you added to the naughty list. I also like the way the alphabet theme is abandoned at XYZ.
The fabulously monikered Garrett Coakley sent this in and writes, "This is the pub across the road from my flat on the London Road in Oxford. Depressingly this is the same sign from last year and they still haven't noticed. The place is a bit of a hole anyway, you can guarantee there will be a fight outside every Friday and Saturday evening."
Garrett receives 100 shiny Xmas GrammarBlog points for his submission. They're in the post.
Here are the best of the rest:
This was submitted by Julie but spotted by her son, aged eight. Julie did not say whether or not the boy had his photo "took" with Santa.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Friday, 21 December 2007
If it was my job to slot letters on to marquee signs like this one I’d collect all the letters I need before ascending the ladder, and then check I’d used them all before storing the ladder away. Whatever happened to that ‘N’? Perhaps the member of staff pocketed it and sold it as a 'Z' to a rival cinema, pulling the wool over everybody's eyes in the process.
It makes the absence of the apostrophe seem almost trivial.
Thursday, 20 December 2007
You've probably seen this as everyone in the world reads The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. If you don't, you should.
I love to hate everything about this sign: the terrible typefaces; the indented first line; the incorrect tense; the misspelt three letter word; the weird hanging quotation mark; and finally the ambiguity. Am I to built my onw taco, or my onw taco bar?
It's up there with the worst sign ever.
The excerpt comes from an interview with ice hockey-haired one-time benefit-botherer Kym Ryder:
The same mistake is, happily, made in the online version . Very good, theguardian, very good.
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
I happened upon this blog post from the Washington Post's transportation writer, Dr Gridlock. It is part of the paper's official blog.
...if you see an official looking sign at a bus shelter telling you that you can get a free ride if you're bus is late, it's a hoax.
[omitted text]She wanted to alert riders so they don't get there hopes up about this.
Ok, it's over a year old but the main reason I'm posting this is that the comments are quite interesting. Among the commenters, two teams are quickly established; Team Grammar and Team Don't be so Picky. Team Grammar takes an early lead.
'... you can get a free ride if you're bus is late, it's a hoax.'
YOUR bus is late ...
Swiftly followed by,
'She wanted to alert riders so they don't get there hopes up about this.'Ouch! It isn't all one way traffic though; the exchanges flow thick and fast.
She wanted to alert riders so they don't get *their* hopes up about this.
Grammar nazis--stay home.
Posted by: IggyPop | October 26, 2006 12:59 PM
grammar nazis need not apply
Posted by: | October 26, 2006 12:59 PM
Grammar Afficionados WELCOME.
If we can't depend on the press to use our language correctly, we're doomed.
Posted by: | October 26, 2006 01:07 PM
Afficionados is snob language for jerk; two people agreed that the term grammar nazis was appropriate at the exact same time. Case closed!
Posted by: | October 26, 2006 01:09 PM
You have to be kidding to think that pointing out the incorrect use of two third grade words is Grammar Nazi behavior.
This blog reads like an elementary school paper.
If you don't want professionalism, read the Washington Times.Posted by: Grammar Nazi | October 26, 2006 02:20 PM
I love the phrase, "Afficionados [sic] is snob language for jerk". That really cracked me up. These are just a selection of the comments I could have posted. The question is this: are we right to nit pick? After all it's only a blog post. I understand why people would get annoyed if I went through every dodgy MySpace profile or amateur blog with a fine-toothed GrammarComb (I want one of those please, Santa) but I don't think it's unreasonable for readers to expect good standards of grammar and punctuation from professional writers. Then again, maybe I'm just being a total aficionado.
As a science graduate I'm not a big fan of creationism. I have nothing against religion but I object to creationism being taught as a scientific theory in schools. This is much more of an issue in the US; especially in the mid-west and southern states where, it would appear, nearly everyone is a raving lunatic.
I've been following the story of Chris Comer, who was fired as Director of Science Curriculum for the Texas Education Agency. She forwarded an email to a group of friends and colleagues about a lecture by a leading critic of Intelligent Design. This was seen an endorsement of evolution and she was fired. That's like being fired for endorsing gravity.
An appeal is in progress that is focused on the skewed logic of this sacking. The main objection seems to be that it is wrong to interpret the forwarding of an email as an endorsement of the content. Language log commented in favour of Comer in a post. I would argue that it's wrong to fire a science teacher for condoning the teaching of science but apparently this argument doesn't hold water in Texas.
I don’t see how I took a position by F.Y.I.-ing on a lecture like I F.Y.I. on global warming or stem-cell research,” Ms. Comer said.Sorry, did she just verb FYI? Mr. Verb had this to say:
To fyi, or to F.Y.I. as the Times copy editors prefer, just had to be out there … it sounds like perfect bureaucratic talk ... but I don't think I'd ever heard it and I'm pretty sure I'd never seen it in print.I'm with Mr. Verb (apart from his misuse of ellipses). What the hell is she talking about? Bureaucratic verbing: that's an offence for which she should be fired.
Friday, 14 December 2007
Because it's Friday, here is a cartoon for your delight and delectation:
Nice post from The Grammar Vandal demonstrating why punctuation is so important.
Dear John Letter #1
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy -- will you let me be yours?
Dear John Letter #2
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
Ever wondered what it would look like if you filled a blunderbuss with apostrophes and fired it at a web page?
Take a look at MarloDee Design's and wonder no more.
(thanks to SPOGG)
Related post : When tortoise owners go bad
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
Yet deep down in his soul, the transplant will hold on to the notion that umbrellas are to be used only as protection against the rain, which is wet and, when it drenches the clothes and skin, makes one uncomfortable.
What do you think, gang? I'll give you all a day to offer your suggestions in the comments section, then I'll have a bash. Although to perfectly honest I don't really know where to start.
Thanks to our twitter friend, Evolution London (a.k.a. Aliya), for the link.
We've seen engraved apostrophe abuse before but this is something else.
A tip of my hat goes to Apostrophe Abuse for such a startling find.
I really like these more permanent errors. As funny as it is to see illiterate, amateur scrawling on cardboard, there's something unsettling about knowing prolonged effort and significant expense has been poured into an error-strewn monstrosity.
Take this example:
My glee was increased when I discovered that the film commemorated by this monument to stupidity courted controversy for its endorsement of white supremacy - in particular the KKK. A poorly educated racist: who'd have thought it?
Labels: apostrophe abuse
Today I found this horror on a drinks menu at a four-star hotel:
What is it about days of the week and months of the year that makes linguistic plebs think their plurals are possessive?
Mildly amusing article over at the BBC website.
Monday, 10 December 2007
This is a couple of months old now. I had intended to post this in October but... well I just forgot.
The background story is as follows. A man orders a cake for his departing colleague. Over the phone he requests that the message should read: "Best Wishes Suzanne" and underneath that, "We will miss you". The cake shop proprietor not only included the instruction but misspelt it.
On the bright side, that's a bit of extra icing for free.
A group of pupils from the Isle of Man recently got suspended for writing unkind things about their teacher on Bebo, according to the Isle of Man Today.
STUDENTS at Ramsey Grammar School have been suspended for 'cyber bullying' — after posting insulting comments about their teacher on a social networking website. The page on the Bebo website described the named staff member as the 'worste [sic] teacher ever' and invited others to add their comments online.
Call it freedom of speech; call it cyber bullying. Whatever you call it, when a teacher is described online as"the worste teacher ever", you've got to think the pupil might have a point.
Friday, 7 December 2007
From passive aggressive notes (again).
Wrongly placed comma, bad verb choice and a fantastic example of choosing the wrong word at the wrong time.
P.S. Yes, I know that last sentence is fragmented. I'm not sorry.
Thursday, 6 December 2007
If you shop at Tesco you earn Clubcard vouchers. Vouchers equate to prizes in Tescoland. Yes they do.
You can exchange your vouchers for Hilton vouchers, to a princely ratio of 1:4 (£50 of Tesco vouchers becoming £200 of Hilton vouchers). The genius of my wife led her to suggest a break in Edinburgh at the Caledonian Hilton hotel; a 5-star hotel, no less. Good work.
Imagine, if you will, discovering that the 5-star rating doesn't cover basic language skills:
Two notices; multiple errors: inexcusable.
Ade is the name of the loyal grammar soldier who submitted this picture of a renegade apostrophe.
I spotted thi's s'hocker the other day while I wa's on the tube:
Take a closer look at that second line of copy. Why is there no capital letter at the start of the sentence? They must have filled their capital quota with "Travel Insurance".
Wednesday, 5 December 2007
There was an excellent post yesterday on Mighty Red Pen explaining how to correctly use the verb 'to comprise'. I have to admit that in the past I've made the following mistake during speech.
- The sample was . . . comprised of 50 10th grade sections.
- The team . . . was comprised of educators, policy analysts, education decision makers, and researchers and consultants.
Nothing is ever ‘comprised of’ something. To comprise means ‘to contain or to embrace.’” AP Stylebook states, “Compose means to create or put together. It is commonly used in both the active and passive voices. . . . Comprise means to contain, to include all or embrace. It is best used only in the active voice.
Use comprise in the active voice. For example, 'comprises' or 'comprising' are acceptable uses.
HRH MRP finishes the post with a great quote.
At times like these, I like to end with the gentle wisdom of H.W. Fowler, who says sweetly, “This lamentably common use of comprise as a synonym for compose or constitute is a wanton and indefensible weakening of our vocabulary.”
Sunday, 2 December 2007
This was taken by me while on holiday in Cornwall. The standard of spelling, punctuation and grammar I saw on the signs down there was atrocious.
Much to my girlfriend's chagrin I spent a lot of time outside hotels, restaurants and gift shops shamelessly snapping away. I should start a specialist travel company. GrammarTours Ltd. – for the irrepressible pedant.
Obviously the final line, "ALL ROOM'S FULLY EQUIPT" is the highlight but the use of the lowercase f is a cause of puzzlement to me. It reminds me of lowercase l—but with f.
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