GrammarBlog

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Less Mistakes Please

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Don't major TV networks have resident grammar checkers? They should. Nancy Burke writes:


Has no one else written about the ear-shattering mistake on the TNT Network? On their Movie promos they say: "More Movies, LESS commercials". It feels like fingernails on the blackboard to me. Of course it should be FEWER commercials.


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18 Comments:
Blogger Josephus Flavius said...

I know - I sent them an email the first time I saw it.

20 November 2008 at 20:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm reading the critically-acclaimed "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell, and because I'm enjoying it, I was willing to forgive the first dangling participle I encountered, assuming it would be a one-off. The second one not twenty pages later gave me some cause for concern, so I read more warily. The third had me howling with laughter and reaching gleefully for the blue pencil.

Here it is, on page 101. Luisa Rey is driving across the bridge towards a nuclear plant when Mitchell flings out this classic whopper:

"Crossing the long, long bridge, the Swanneke B plant emerges from behind the older, greyer cooling towers of Swanneke A."

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20 November 2008 at 21:26  
OpenID evolution said...

I'm so happy that I'm not the only one who noticed this. I was mentioning it to a friend only a few days ago. It really is appalling.

21 November 2008 at 07:56  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Only in Whole Foods, do I see the word "fewer" used correctly, as in, "15 items or fewer."

21 November 2008 at 18:00  
Blogger The Big Quiz Thing said...

While I don't like it either, I actually do not find it so egregious. I mean, I don't think what they're trying to say is "We have a smaller countable number of commercials than other networks." I would imagine it's more along the lines of "The time given over to advertising—i.e., the 'commercials' part of our programming—is less."

Perhaps a fine distinction, and if I were writing or editing this, I'd go with "fewer." But I'm not prepared to label "less commercials" a disastrous error.

25 November 2008 at 23:31  
Blogger tim maguire said...

I think they do it because it flows better and takes a micro-second less air time to say. Advertisers never cared much for proper English.

5 December 2008 at 21:46  
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19 March 2009 at 08:23  
Blogger Kitty said...

The Big Quiz Thing is definitely wrong on the question of "less" vs. "fewer". Whatever the underlying meaning, in the context "less" is used, it is incorrect. Also, TNT has come up with a new grammar error which offends me: "Back-to-back episodes of [name of show] continues next" -- they does??

4 May 2010 at 16:32  
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