The notice above is posted in the elevator at my local supermarket’s parking garage. Today I noticed the red splotch. It took me a moment to realize it wasn’t random — somebody had deliberately crossed out the superfluous “at.” I don’t know whether the red stuff is paint, blood, or Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but the message is clear. Thank you, grammar vigilante. The next time I’m trapped in the elevator — excuse me, the lift — I’ll be sure to let the contractors know which branch of Waitrose I am in. Especially if it’s the Nakatomi Towers branch and Hans Gruber and his henchmen are pursuing me through the air ducts and elevator shafts, trying to recover the detonators.
Why yes, I did watch Die Hard last night. How did you know? Ho-ho-ho.
Yes, people are crazy. But take a look at all these stories and consider how different each headline would read if the punctuation was changed. And tell me how the second headline could be written to sound clearer and less like a tale of demon sheep.
Police: Man punched police officer, horse.
Town hunts werewolves after sheep attacks.
Guest called room service for a ferret.
Posted in Life
Author Julie Compton writes:
Daytona 500 Race. I’m sitting in the stands, watching the race, flipping through the “Official Souvenir Program.” On page 158, I come across the “Kid Zone” with a fill-in-the-blank puzzle. Anyone else see a problem with this “teaching” tool?
If the image isn’t clear, here’s an excerpt.
“The Daytona 500 is called ‘The Great American _____’ (verb) and has been won by 35 different _____s (verb).
…. Dale Earnhardt _____ (verb) the race in 1998. When he won, the rest of the _____s (verb) lined up on _____ (adjective) _____ (noun) to _____ (verb) his hand.
Julie: I think this is the perfect teaching tool. NASCAR Mad Libs. Go wild, kids.
Posted in Writing
Cyanide & Happiness understands how I react:
And just in time for Saturday night: Pictionary, the Cormac McCarthy edition.
(Thanks to Kelly for the Cyanide & Happiness link.)
Bad spelling opens up security loophole.
A missing dot in an email address might mean messages end up in the hands of cyber thieves, researchers have found.
By creating web domains that contained commonly mistyped names, the investigators received emails that would otherwise not be delivered.
Over six months they grabbed 20GB of data made up of 120,000 wrongly sent messages.
Some of the intercepted correspondence contained user names, passwords, and details of corporate networks.
Poor punctuation is hazardous. I knew it.
Jason writes: “Sesame Street does Old Spice… with Grover.”
A comma is not the same as an apostrophe. At least not if you’re a Girl Scout.
(From Fail Blog.)
Posted in Random
Tagged Grammar, Humor
Lent is approaching and, as in past years, for the penitential season I was planning to give up snarking. But that’s a forlorn hope now that a Michigan software company has created brand new punctuation: the sarcasm mark.
Sarcasm, Inc. has invented the SarcMark, “which resembles an open circle with a dot in the center.”
“Statements have the period. Questions have the question mark. Exclamations have the exclamation mark. When you see the newest punctuation mark for sarcasm, you’ll know the writer of that sentence doesn’t literally mean what they’re writing; they’re being sarcastic,” the company said in a release.
Boy, I’m going to be nothing but peaches and cream once I start using this punctuation mark. And just wait till Evan Delaney gets her hands on it.
(Via The Rap Sheet.)
Posted in Life, Writing
It’s said that the devil has the best songs. Apparently he has all the apostrophes, too.
To paraphrase Anne Lamott: When you’re convinced God hates all the same people you do, it’s a sign you’ve remade God in your own image.
I think I’m on this poster about eight times.
(Via The Rejectionist.)
Posted in Writing
How should one fight back in a grammar battle?
Some people are annoyed by the errors they find in others’ choice of grammar or selection of vocabulary. To these guardians of language, there are few more egregious slip-ups (slips-up?) than to leave a participle dangling, end a sentence with a preposition or (heaven forfend) utilize an inflectional, rather than a periphrastic, comparative (stupider, say, instead of more stupid)…
And what of the rest of us, we who are not of the opinion that using verbal nouns and the like is akin to kicking an elderly lady off the bus — what do we have to be annoyed by? We can be annoyed by those people who insist on correcting our use of the English language. My aim here, however, is not to illustrate how to be annoyed by those who insist on correcting your language (that will come naturally) but rather to provide a guide for how to make them go away.
“For instance, I have occasionally been informed that my use of the word stupider, as opposed to the somewhat ungainly phrase more stupid, makes me sound . . . plus stupide. I used to cringe in shame and embarrassment when this was pointed out to me, until I discovered that Ezra Pound also used the word stupider, in a letter that he wrote to William Carlos Williams in 1920: ‘If you weren’t stupider than a mud-duck you would know that every kick to bad writing is by that much a help for the good.’ And so now, rather than feel like an uneducated boor when someone calls me out for my use of this word, I can tell my antagonist that I am referencing Pound.”
Posted in Writing
The BBC’s Jonathan Charles puts a comma after his name instead of a period, and reveals a secret past.