Wednesday, 30 January 2008
I've just had an MSN conversation with fellow GrammarBlogger Tom and I feel like sharing.
Tom: in this context, would you put 'yes' and 'no' in quotation marks:Yep, I know: we're sad.
Tom: It's a simple question and usually can be answered with a yes or no.
Tom: right - Paul and Mike both concur here
Gez: that's ok. if it offends you stylistically, I don't think there is a problem leaving them out
Tom: that's a good point
Tom: I suppose it's essentially treating 'yes' and 'no' as nouns
Gez: says: no, you are quoting
Gez: says: eg say, "yes, Paul"
Gez: says: There is a case for it as they are not part of the sentence in that context. But don't lose sleep over it if you don't want them in.
Tom says: I think it's a fairly unique usage : the idea of a yes and a no as nouns - I don't think it works for other words
Tom: I'm going to leave them out
Gez: I works when ever you talk about words.
Gez: Pronounce the T in waiting
Tom: I disagree - in this instance I think 'yes' is a synonym for a nod
Gez: Tom puts the 'wit' in 'fuckwit'. Andy provides the 'fuck'.
Tom: yeah - but I think you need the speech marks there
Tom: you're clearly talking about the words themselves
Gez: really? same argument different case
Tom: rather than the concept of a yes
Regular contributor and twitter friend Aliya has got in touch to voice her discontent at being confronted with a grammatical error when attempting to sign up to Zlio, a web 2.0 shop thingy-ma-bob. Yes, that's the technical description.
"Please confirm informations bellow."
I really like this. I can imagine people yelling their email addresses at the screen, eager to try this new-fangled, web-based, voice recognition technology. Also, the pluralisation of uncountable nouns such as 'information', 'luck' and 'money' always makes me smile, I don't know why.
Perhaps our Aliya was having a bad day as she did not take this so lightly.
I was in the middle of signing up for Zlio's online DIY shop service, when this unforgivable monstrosity presented itself. There's just no excuse for this degree of error. In fact, Zlio should apologise for the level of offence, frustration, and downright despair that they have caused me.
That's good ranting, lass. Keep 'em coming.
Sunday, 27 January 2008
The best graffiti ever?
Found on a Russian photo blog (warning: occasional arty nudity).
Saturday, 26 January 2008
I couldn't wait another eleven months to post this.
Friday, 25 January 2008
Before Christmas, I posted about the frightening use of apostrophes on MarloDee Designs' website. A few days ago we received notification of the following comment.
Hello! This is Marlo from MarloDee Designs. I think I have fixed all the punctuation errors on my website. Wow! I didn't mean to blind Heather. I did have a couple of people send me email's pointing out my faults(although the one sent to me was quite mean). But, maybe I deserved it. (oh by the way, I am in the process of redesigning two pages. So, if you visit again you will find that two of my pages will still have punctuation errors. I am sorry. I will have them corrected soon.) I didn't mean to offend anyone.
Does anyone else find this response disarmingly charming? The fact that in this comment Marlo makes the very same mistake for which she was lambasted just adds to the charm, in my opinion. (Marlo dear, simple plurals don't need an apostrophe so "email's" is incorrect.)
A brief glance at Marlo's website confirms that she has corrected many (although not all) of the errors, so we can take her off The List.
Marlo, thank you for your delightful comment, I am pleased you are trying to change your apostrophe abusing ways. As they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem and asking for help. I apologise for the over-exuberance of some of our readers but to stretch that A.A. analogy, think of their rudeness as an intervention.
Finally, to the over-zealous grammar vigilante who sent Marlo a nasty email: you should be ashamed of yourself. I know in the past I've alluded to firebombing and lynch-mobs but such endorsements are in jest... usually. A polite email would have been much more appropriate. Although having said that, these guys might benefit from a little letter bomb or two. Where's my bag of nails?
Related post: 'Tis the season to make new enemies
Thursday, 24 January 2008
Here is one reason why she thinks they need it.
National Grammar day is on March 4th (that's what we linguists call a pun—get it?) and may or may not feature an angry, pitch-fork brandishing mob torching restaurants and shops that have grammatically incorrect signage.
Live the dream, my American cousins.
I am the proud manager of a hugely unsuccessful Fantasy Football team with the Daily Telegraph. The venerable Alan Hansen is the resident celebrity pundit and earns his endorsement fee by writing (or maybe just approving ) the odd email newsletter.
The one good thing about being a TFF manager as opposed to the real thing is at least you shouldn't get the sack. Newcastle have about as much patience as a closed down hospital and so Big Sam Allardyce has now been reduced to something a lot smaller.
Pardon, Alan? Have you been at the scotch?
Firstly, the verbal pun on patience/patients doesn't really work written down, especially as the use of the determiner 'much' isn't appropriate for the alternate meaning. You can't say a hospital has much patients. However the funniest aspect of this garbled paragraph is the implication that Sam Allardyce used to be bigger than a closed down hospital. I suppose that would justify the nickname Big Sam.
Anyone familiar with BBC football coverage will be aware that, due to Hansen's favourite sitting position – slouched and splayed, his modifiers are not the only things to be seen dangling.
Friday, 18 January 2008
I think I will try to make Cartoon Friday a regular feature here at GrammarBlog.
This slice of Friday cheer was brought to you by MRP.
I often think there would be a quid or two to make buying up superfluous apostrophes and selling them to those in need. Apostrophe brokering would be my ideal career. More often than not, these thoughts are followed a few hours later by a stinking hangover.
Related post: That's a sweet ass-hyphen
Monday, 14 January 2008
Christina Aguilera has dropped a sprog. Heat readers are no doubt beside themselves. I, on the other hand, couldn't really claim to give a toss if it wasn't for the grammatical error made by Xtina (does that pseudonym make anyone else get a little bit of sick in the mouth?) in her official announcement.
Dear fans,Today is a very joyful and special day for Jordan and I as we welcome our first son into this world.
Come on Xtina (oh no, it happened again), we've covered this before. You wouldn't say, "...a special day for I," so you must use "...Jordan and me". Using "I" doesn't make it any more official.
There are some who argue that "xxx and I" (as an object) should be treated as a separate form to "I", and that because usage is increasing we should learn to live with it.
In my town, stabbings are on the increase; should we learn to accept stabbing? Should we all join in with a little stabbing of a weekend? Doesn't that sound like fun?
Thank you, Kate, for bringing this to my attention and remaining resolutely belligerent on the topic.
Thursday, 10 January 2008
Is anyone else really sick of seeing the word 'Thru'? Of all the various inane marketing spellings it's the one that winds me up the most. I'm not sure why. Maybe ubiquity is a factor; it does seem to crop up everywhere.
The Grammar Vandal currently has a poll on her site asking visitors their opinion on when it is acceptable to use 'thru'.
I'm on team Never.
Related posts: Grammar abuse in signage: part 9
No, he's deadly serious.
How do I spell my own name again?It's spelt Joaquin, Joaquin.
This was found over at SPOGG.
Here is a video of the same event. Joaquin was showing support for the writers strike. (Should that be writers' strike? Or is it similar to an event attended by writers so not needing the possessive – like a cattle market? I should probably research that. I probably won't though.)
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Izzy was less than impressed when she noticed an error on the wrapper of her P-p-p-penguin.
I was about to eat this scrummy-looking Penguin bar when I noticed that there was a mistake. The answer, by the way, is 'Iceburg-ers'. Needless to say, this Penguin bar is about to be sent back to the company with a complaint.In addition to the apostrophe abuse, the capital 'P' suggests that Penguin bars are coming to life and eating things.
Izzy did not specify whether the nature of her complaint would be regarding punctuation or pun quality. I hope she gives them hell on both counts.
Friday, 4 January 2008
If only I'd seen this in time to include it in the Xmas special.
Thursday, 3 January 2008
Martin has been in touch by email to submit this wonderful example of a shop getting it completely wrong.
Even a major national chain can get it wrong, the attached is in the window of the local W. H. Smith store.My maths isn't great but I know that buying something at more than half price isn't necessarily a good deal.
Tuesday, 1 January 2008
This is a year old now but Jonathan Ross makes a great point about the use of the word literally. Skip to the 2.30 point.
If it was literally “The Wizard of Oz” then there would be a fucking yellow brick road and munchkins everywhere.I also love the imagery Ross uses when describing people "literally" going mental. Any explanation of a grammatical point that involves shit-daubing is OK by me.
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