Monday, 25 February 2008
I live in Manchester now but sights like this remind me what I left behind when I moved away from the jewel of the North-East.
Sunday, 24 February 2008
Thanks for this mess go to Autumn Faulkner, who says "I saw this sign outside a gas station near Gadsden, Alabama. In Gadsden, it appears, people celebrate the advent of some guy named Chris. A local deity, perhaps?"
I'm not so sure. I'd like to think it's a misspelled (but nevertheless intriguing) advert for an event celebrating 'Charisma Belles' – attractive ladies with irresistible social magnetism.
I've lived in the North East of England for nearly eight years, and at some point in the last four or five, I began to notice what I assumed to be a quaint dialectical turn of phrase. Let me give you an example:
Tom: "Two sausage rolls and a steak bake, please."
Greggs member of staff: "That's seven pence please, pet."
Tom: "Here you go: the exact change."
Greggs member of staff: "Thanks now."
Erm, I'm sorry? Thanks now? Why explicitly thank me now? Is there a regional need for temporal clarity and has it embarrassingly passed me by? Should I thank someone later or earlier in certain social circumstances?
It got worse.
Tom: "Thanks a lot, have a good evening."
Taxi driver: "Bye now."
It got worse.
Newsagent: "See you later now."
What was this gibberish? At first, my tolerance of provincial backwaters and my young, naive mind caused me to assume that I was dealing with a North Eastern quirk; one which sat comfortably alongside the more familiar Geordie cliches ('pet', 'howay' and 'we're a massive club, ye naa'*).
But then, on the subsequent occasions when I journeyed south, to Manchester, to London, a harrowing realisation dawned. I was shocked, appalled, repelled. This vile turn of phrase was everywhere. This was no regional linguistic nuance. This was a plague.
It got worse.
Tom: "Just this bottle of wine please."
Attractive (but thick) shop assistant: "That's £4.99 there."
Tom: "Here you go."
Attractive (but thick) shop assistant: "That's a penny change there."
Tom: "Bye now."
I don't understand this here. It's some sort of fear of the plain sentence now. It's as though the user wants to avoid appearing curt, and feels the need to drop a meaningless positional or temporal adverb in to soften their impact there.
If you hear it, correct it.
*A joke which will only be understood by UK readers.
Friday, 22 February 2008
Old GrammarBlog friend Ade wasn't taking any chances that we might miss this picture.Opting for the belt and braces approach, he emailed and twittered to let us know what he witnessed outside his house.
Good work, Ade.
I can't decide if this is a typo or a malapropism. Either way it's a shocker.
The correct word is of course 'whet'.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
I have nothing more to say about this.
Some good advice when writing an online resume: proofread, proofread, proofread.
We bring essential business experience from many areas including: advisory, systems, research, human resources, marketing and pubic relations.
Related posts: Spell Checker Poem
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
SPOGG is reporting on the associated press' standpoint on the hyphen in 'e-mail'.
David Minthorn, spokesman for the AP stylebook has the following to say on the matter:
Call us stubborn, or sticklers for clarity, but AP sees no compelling reason to replace e-mail with email.
Why do we stand on e-mail? That spelling is the first choice of major dictionaries, including AP's primary spelling reference, Webster's New World College Dictionary Fourth Edition. It is also the preference of many newspapers. And e-mail is consistent with other hyphenated, electronic age terms such as e-book, e-commerce, e-shopping and e-business (which would look odd without hyphens).
You're not the first to propose dropping the hyphen. But the arguments of one fewer keystroke and search engine statistics don't convince us that e-mail would be enhanced by excision.
I disagree. I think 'email' does and should take preference over its hyphenated alter ego. What does the hyphen add? 'Email' looks better, reads better and is less cluttered.
One must regard the hyphen as a blemish to be avoided wherever possible. My feeling is that you may run [words] together or leave them apart, except when Nature revolts.
Quite right, Winston.
We've covered this before of course, when the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary dropped a gazillion hyphens from its new edition last October. I don't think I can be persuaded that a hyphen is needed in this case.
What do you lot think?
Friday, 15 February 2008
Apart from the gorgeous spelling errors, I enjoyed the sentence beginning 'Clothes, shoes...' The way the list suddenly recommences, seemingly apropos of nothing, is excellent: it's like when a newsreader is told to keep ad-libbing because the tape of the next story isn't ready yet.
It's good to be home, GrammarBlog.
Thursday, 14 February 2008
I have to confess to being a bit of a Valentine's grinch. My girlfriend can drop all the hints in the world and I'll still forget to buy a card or gift. I don't know who decided it was romantic to throw money into Hallmark's bank account and contribute to the destruction of the rainforests once a year.
I know what you're thinking: she is one lucky, lucky lady. And I correct her grammar.
So, in the spirit of the day and to thank her for putting up with this incessant curmudgeon, I would like to dedicate this post to my long-suffering girlfriend. (A blog post is more environmentally friendly than a card, and conveniently free.)
First up we have an accept/except confusion combined with a missing possessive apostrophe.
Next: today's post from Passive Aggressive Notes is a cracker. It qualifies for GrammarBlog due to the heartbreaking misspelling.
I hope Gavin doesn't come home to find his bunny in a pot.
Friday, 8 February 2008
Ladies, gentleman and pedants around the world: please vote now for the USA's worst grammar. From the National Grammar Day website, brought to you by SPOGG, the nominations for the worst grammar in the USA are:
1. Willow Park, Tx
Note the apostrophe catastrophes in “Tue’s” [sic] and Thur’s [sic]
2. Denver, Colorado
A sign on a barber shop used to say "It pays to look well."
(This was particularly amusing for the medical resident who sent it; he worked in the OB/Gyn department.)
3. Seattle, WA
From a Seattle Boat Show e-mail
As a recent visitor to the Seattle Boat Show [misplaced modifier], Gemeral Motors asked that I make contact with you and intorduce our Dealership. We are located at 116th Ave NE on Auto Row in Bellevue. We offer the largest selection of Buick's, Pontiac's and GMC's in the Northwest and have access to Cadillac through our sister store. We also have around 400 used vehicles to choose from. That is why we have been select by both Costco and Consumers Guide to handle their customers in this area, we would like to offer our assisntance to you as well. We are one of the very few dealers to offer to take a vehicle to you for a test drive. If we can be assistance to you in any way, please call me toll free at 800-XXX-XXXX or locally at 425-XXX-XXXX. I hope to hear from you..
4. From Altoona, PA
A newspaper headline about the death of the former president of Indonesia:
5. The San Francisco Bay Area
An electric ticker sign used to update commuters along the highway recently displayed the following warning: "Watch your step: platform slippery do to rain."
6. Columbia, S.C.
Proofread twice, chisel once…
7. Tampa, Fl:
They’re just seeing if applicants are paying attention. The second-to-last line reads "PLEASE GRAMMER/SPELL PROOF YOUR RESUME."
8. Nashville, TN
9. Santa Barbara, CA
10. Bismarck, ND
This letter from a teacher already sets off the crazy-bells for its use of all capital letters. Check out the spelling. "Thru"? "Advertizement"? [GrammarBlog is glad that SPOGG also disapproves of "thru"]
11. From a Country Kitchen restaurant in Farmville, VA
A sign that reads: vegetables like grandmas
But do they eat them raw? Or sautéed in butter?
12. From southeastern Michigan
13. Also from Southeastern Michigan:
14. San Francisco, CA
A restroom sign says, "Be Kind to Your Fellow Patron. Please Leave this Area Clean."
That airport always seemed more crowded to us.
15. Altoona, PA
Housekeeping by a part time male? Do you suppose he cleans when he’s a she?
16. White Plains, NY:
A sign in the DMV office says this:
"The use of any recording devices are strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to: video cameras, camera phones, tapes recorders, etc. Failure to comply will result in confiscation of these devices and possible arrest."
Can you catch all four errors?
1. "The use... IS... prohibited."
2. The colon should be a comma, or nothing at all.
3. "Tape recorders".
4. "etc" isn't necessary.
17. Newport News, VA
Only exceptional candidates need apply.
18. Thomasville, Georgia
A large, professionally painted sign on Highway 319 says, in huge type:
DEVELOPMENT PROPRETY FOR SALE
It sounds better in a southern accent, we’re sure.
19. Portland, Oregon
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