Saluting the Grammar Police…Heroes from a Whole Nother Era

4 Mar
Egg's and Chicken's

Last year’s sign (thanks Albert). Still funny, in a sad sort of way…

I just can’t let National Grammar Day go by without sending a shout out to all my red-pen-hearted peeps out there who are struggling mightily…to find the page-sized “X” option in the track changes menu so they can truly express their preferred course of action.

Sorry guys, but that type of editor satisfaction has become a thing of the past. Sadly, it appears the well-written sentence is fading as well.

We just don’t seem to pay attention to our words as much as we used to. I recently came across a briefing slide that claims, “The average American consumes more than 400 Africans,” and a parking lot sign warning that, “Violators will be towed and find $50.”

Words are losing their identity faster than department store credit card customers. Nouns are verbing (as in, “I don’t want to brain today” and “trending this week”), and verbs are nouning (“The accomplishment resulted in a pay increase.”) Worse still, we’re getting lazy with real words. Why do newscasters insist on using the terms, “terror plot” and “War on Terror,” when we’re actually fighting terrorists and terrorism?

Our dictionary writers are caving. Find a dictionary less than 5 years old and look up “nother,” as in, “that’s a whole nother story.” It’s in there.

The AP Style book is caving. Thanks to the wonderful world of advertising, the word “over” is now an acceptable substitute for “more than” and it’s okay to start a sentence “Hopefully” without a supporting pronoun. (It’s also okay to write “ok” but I can’t make my fingers do that.) The Chicago Manual of Style may be caving, but it’s too big so I don’t use it. (I was going to tell you about Super-editor Christina here because she is the only person I know who has cracked that tome open, but I can’t exactly say she uses it—she has it memorized.)

Fat free milk

It may be fat, but it’s also free!

Why are we taking our cues from the advertising world anyway? These are the same people who gave Victoria Secret the, “You’ve never seen body’s like this!” campaign, and had Michael Jordan touting the Lay Flat Collar! Not the sharpest tools in the shed, if you know what I mean.

Just look at the printed world around us. We live in a country where the milk we drink is not only fat, but also free. And, if that doesn’t satisfy, we can swap our milk for some orange juice toted as “the most tastiest.”

Now, before you jump on my blogwagon, yes, I understand that language evolves. One day we’ll need a dictionary to remember how to use “hash tag” as a noun and to learn the purpose of a selfie stick. However, it’s not the new words that add to my life’s uhtceare (There, find your own dictionary!); it’s the wrongly used words, and the wrongly punctuated words.

So, if you’re in the writing business, hug an editor today.  You’ve probably been saved at least once by that red pen tracked change luminary. If you’re an editor, dry you’re “tears” and take a heart. Sadly, the very existance of such a day ensures you’ll halve employment for as long as your want it.

10 Responses to “Saluting the Grammar Police…Heroes from a Whole Nother Era”

  1. Albert March 4, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    Rose, thanks for the shout-out…the sign is still there 😦

    • pjoy93 March 5, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

      If it weren’t, it wouldn’t be hard to find another. BTW, tell Christina I miss the Comma Chameleon. 😦

  2. Allyn Bamberger March 5, 2015 at 10:07 am #

    Rose, that was a brilliant essay! I think that you really deserve the t-shirt which says, “Silently correcting your grammar”.

    • pjoy93 March 5, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

      How do you know I don’t own it? …;)

  3. emgil3 March 5, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    Sadly, things aren’t as much like they used to be as they are now.

    • pjoy93 March 5, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

      What an interesting way to put it. 🙂 One day though, they might be as they are…

  4. Carey Roberts March 5, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    I SO agree. I hate it when my well- educated grand-child says, “Me and Her are going to the mall.”

    • pjoy93 March 5, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

      Or when the seminar leader says, “If you have any questions, come see Susan or myself.” AAAAArrrgh. Thanks for commiserating. 🙂

  5. Peggy Ellis March 6, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

    Rose, as a free lance editor, I definitely agree with you on the subject of grammar!. I cringe as i listen to media news people, who are supposed to be well educated! BTW, I received an email from you today that said I was not to open any from you, except the current one. I didn’t open it because I was not, and am not, sure that you haven’t been hacked. Let me know here if I should open your emails. If today’s is from you, tell me again what you want me to know! Do you plan to attend the conference at Ridgecrest in May? I plan to be there and would enjoy visiting with you. Peggy

    • pjoy93 March 7, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

      Email that says (well, this one’s okay) is mine, but pointless now that you’ve got the message. Still on the fence about Ridgecrest…it all comes down to the Benjamins. 🙂 Hope to see you there!

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