25 August 2007

I got your grammar police right here!

Bad grammar bothers me. Always has. I have my parents, the grammar gestapo, to thank for this. Not that I'm complaining, really. I'm articulate thanks to them. I do appreciate that. The problem is that I want to correct everyone and everything when I see grammar errors.

Case in point?

Driving along a major road on my area, I saw the following sign:

"Summer Deals: Get them while their hot!"

Let's forget the punctuation error for a second, and instead focus on the homophone. Their. Which is the plural of he/she/it. What they meant to say was they're, the contraction of they are. This isn't rocket science. If you're not sure of your grammar, for chrissakes, ask someone else.

The English teacher I had from 5th grade to 7th grade had a rule, called "The Three English-Speaking People Rule." The rule required us to have at least 3 people who were English speakers read the compositions we turned in to her. She specified English speakers because we were little smart-asses who would tell her, "But I *did* have three people read it. They just weren't native speakers." Thinking back, if I were her, I might have shot us just for being brats. But then I'm not a patient woman. She was.

Regardless, I have instituted that rule every place I've ever worked, because people have terrible grammar. Abysmal grammar. Even a lawyer I worked for once upon a time was a habitual fragment-writer. I had to work with the typing pool on a nearly daily basis to "translate" what he had dictated for them.

I'm trying to hold myself back from calling the store with the grammatical error on the sign and telling them precisely what it should say, because that's a really obnoxious thing to do. On the other hand, there's the fact that unless someone tells them, I doubt that they'll ever know.

Then there's the punctuation error. Ahh, don't get me started.


Dawna said...

Oh I SO feel you! My biggest pet peeve is the use of "'s" instead of the plural "s".

I'll fully admit that I'm not perfect; I type way too damned fast for my own good sometimes and miss complete words and such, but good lord people!

"First 3 Cappuccino's are $3.99"

I feel my brain twitch whenever I walk passed that billboard. There is a part of me that understands the fluent bilingual city in which I live. English and French rules are entirely different when it comes to plurals and whatnot. Still though, there is no excuse if you are advertising something!


Lucy Arin said...

ARGH! Don't you want to call them?

I'm hardly perfect myself, grammatically, none of us are. But man, make an effort, no?

I fully understand the language thing...but...if I was working in advertising in Sweden, I'd have people triple and quadruple checking my ad copy-writing to make absolutely sure that it was 100%.

And they can't claim that here by a long shot. We're hundreds of miles from a sizable population that speaks anything other than English as a first language. I chalk it up to mainly laziness.

LOL, it must have something to do with being a Cap, I'm a stickler for the rules.