Forget about your NCAA bracket: If you’re more concerned about your Grammar Madness bracket, check out the winner of the first Grammar Madness battle here.
Category Archives: grammar
All right, you pedants. Let the public shaming begin.
Grammarlyblog’s tournament of grammatical errors — Grammar Madness — begins today. If you love spotting errors on social media, this tournament is for you. Today’s vote focuses on contextual spelling mistakes — the old pore/pour kind of slip.
So get surfing the web for the most egregious errors, and then vote on your favs.
It’s National Grammar Day (well, it is in the US, anyway), so amuse yourself with some fun blogs devoted to the subject. This post by Copyediting has several fun suggestions.
Are you a pompous grammarian with a competitive entrepreneurial spirit? Then get over to FundAnything and help Grammar Girl with her new game, Peeve Wars.
Peeve Wars is a card game in which you collect peeve cards to annoy your opponent. My favourite peeve card is the Grammar Snob (“Just because you’re correct doesn’t mean you’re not annoying.”). My least favourite is the Where Are You At? card. It’s not even spelled correctly! It should read “Where y’at, b’y?”
Clearly, GrammarGirl is a long way from The Rock.
I’ve been searching for errors on storefront signs around the city. Today there was no shortage of offenders. The most common errors were as you might expect:
- An apostrophe s where none is needed (or vice versa):
Are the materials for artists (no apostrophe), or do the materials belong to artists (apostrophe)? No apostrophe is needed here. Better: Rename the store Art Materials. Best: Artists R Us.
- A plural form where none is needed (or a singular where a plural is needed):
- An adjective used as a noun (or vice versa):
The above sign is around the corner from my house and has bothered me for years. My vote would be to go with “Improve Your English.” English-speaking (with a hyphen) is an adjective, not a noun. Alternatives could include “Improve Your Spoken English” or “Improve Your Conversational English.” Drop one of the frees and omit the ESL, and I can walk past without the snicker.
- The use of American spellings:
- Inconsistent capitalization (and spacing and order, in this instance):
Speaking of inconsistency, I’m bestowing an award on today’s most inconsistently spelled word. Congratulations, jewellery.
- Creative (read: incorrect) spellings:
There were lots of signs that used E- in the text: “E-style haircut.” Really? Is this some kind of fashion I’m unaware of, because variations on this were everywhere (and e-tea, anyone?).
Lots of signs were just plain confusing:
The most disappointing mistake was from one of the big banks:
Best business name of the day goes to Hair Do. Worst business name is a tie between On Care (not call) Pharmacy and this travesty:
Here’s the absolute worst sign of the day:
To end on a bright note, here’s a sign that could have gone wrong in so many ways but didn’t:
With the Toronto Blue Jays playing their first game of the season tonight, who can think straight? The Jays have a lot of talent this year, but I’m most excited to see R. A. Dickey‘s knuckleball and the shortstop moves of Jose Reyes. I’m going to Sunday’s game against Boston, but who knows who will be pitching. Fingers crossed that I get to see Dickey. (The Globe and Mail has a fun interactive piece on Dickey here.)
So, with the Jays weighing heavily on my mind, today I offer some tips on collective nouns – nouns such as team, league, staff, management, administration. The rule is both simple and easy: treat collective nouns as singular unless the members are acting as individuals.
The team looks (singular verb) promising this year.
The team are (plural verb) looking around for their freshly pressed jerseys.
Management is (singular verb) ready to get tough.
Management disagree (plural verb) about the best course of action.
Of course, if you feel that the plural sounds unnatural, you can always recast the sentence: The members of the team are looking around for their freshly pressed jerseys.
Now let’s throw in a knuckleball and see how it breaks: The phrase a number of is plural, and the phrase the number of is singular. (This rule isn’t exclusive to collective nouns, by the way.)
A number of people are expected at the opener tonight.
The number of people with season tickets is unusually high this year.
Hmm. I wonder if the number of season tickets holders is unusually high this year. You’d think it would be. And I wish I were one of them.