Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Can't Take It Any More

I’ve been undercover too long to keep up this ruse any longer. Today I come clean, out of the shadows, to expose my real identity.

And you thought I was Leah Rubin, mild-mannered blogger, wife, mother and grandmother, keeper of the family archives and some-time tap dancer. Harumph, I say. That is my cover, not unlike the Clark Kent persona employed by Superman.

My superpower is not one widely known. I am, after sweeping into a coat closet (go find a phone booth these days!) transformed into Battle-Scarred Grammatica!

So because I cannot see a misspelled or misused word without cringing, biting my lip, or bursting out with some manner of stringed-together expletives, I have saved a few from recent days to share with you. Perhaps by venting my spleen herein, I can avoid an aneurysm.

Now people misuse words all the time, and in everyday speech I probably do, too. I have no more desire to sound like a stilted, repressed philosophy professor than I do to mud wrestle a kangaroo. But that’s not important right now.

So I’m mostly inclined to point out these errors of syntax or grammar when used by a professional in a setting that afforded him or her the opportunity to get it right.

For example, on the PBS Newshour Tuesday evening, the financial correspondent, Paul Solman mentioned “loaning the money”. See the problem? Loan is a noun, not a verb. Sure, lots of people do this, but Paul should be better than that. Paul, next time say “lending the money.” I’m just saying.

Then there’s the sign in front of a local church here, pimping the U.S. census. (This photo was on the front page of our daily newspaper a few months ago. I saved it because it stuck in my craw. Of course if I saved all of the items that stuck in my craw, I’d need to build an addition to the house. And I’d probably have to have my craw looked at.) The sign reads, “US CENSUS 2010/IT’S IN OUR HAND’S”. Yikes! Okay, they correctly used an apostrophe in the word ‘it’s’, but why did that make them think there was one needed in ‘hands’??? Just shoot me. It’s really not that difficult, friends.

Just a week ago the same paper ran a headline over the story of Helen Thomas’ retirement. If you missed it, Thomas was a White House correspondent who (according to this New York Times copyrighted story) created an uproar with some harsh remarks about a sensitive subject.

The (big!) headline read, “One too many blunt remark”. Um, ‘remarks’, guys. Really.

And finally (at least for this edition of ‘You’re Killing Me With This Crap’) there’s the subheadline (yes, I made that word up just for this occasion) under the “DARE officer leaves a lasting impression” headline. (FYI, DARE is a program our local police department runs in the schools. It’s an acronym for Drug Abuse Resistance Education.) It reads, “For 17 years, students have clinged to the words of Tom Forgue.”

Clinged? Come on, even now my spell-check is fighting me tooth and nail over that one. You people at the newspaper don’t have spell-check? Or editors? What the what?

All I’m asking is for a little respect, as Aretha would say. And yes, it should be “All I’m asking for is a little respect,” but you have to give poetic license when it comes to music and the arts. But the rest of the time, I say we should keep the language alive and well. Sometimes I think it’s on life support, and I’m worried about some overzealous nutcase pulling the plug.

Are you with me on this, people? Let’s save the language AND the whales!


  1. Then you'll love this little number. Protesters at a spelling bee. Seriously. Check it out: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100603/ap_on_re_us/us_spelling_bee_protest

    A friend of mine is the editor of the local paper, and after the first Twilight film came out, his wife dragged him out to see it. His weekly column the following weekend was about going out with his wife to the movie. The column mentioned a group of "rouge vampires," and I had to send him a note teasing him about the vampires being so pale that they felt that they required a little bit of makeup. He was a good sport, thank goodness, but still. Do you think spell check has induced MORE errors than in the past? Dunno.

  2. I constantly have to stop myself from correcting other people's grammar and spelling!

  3. I cannot stand this kind of thing! My major pet peeve in this department is when people have a sign on their house that says "The Johnson's" instead of "The Johnsons." I can't even understand why people would make that mistake!

  4. Want to see me stick a hot poker in my eyes? Just use "drug" as the past tense for "drag." I don't give a crap that Dr. Phil or any other number of "professionals" do it. It's WRONG! It drives me up the freakin' wall every single time. The past tense for drag is dragged. You dragged the dead body across the room. You didn't drug it -- or maybe you did and maybe that's why it's dead, but that would mean you administered drugs. Okay... now I've worked myself into a state. I need a drink.

  5. I see accept and except abused almost everyday online. Their, there, and they're are often abused as well. What gets me is that it takes 2 seconds to run spell check. I'm sure I've made some grammatical errors, but accept and except misuse makes me want to shove a fork in my eyes.

  6. I was at a McDonald's once when I noticed the drive-thru had a PERMANENT sign that read "Clearence." I don't get how the sign-makers wouldn't catch an error like that and say something.

  7. You hit my hot button with this one! You're/your, its/it's, there/their/they're.....they all drive me a little bit nuts.

    There are a couple that I think are local; one is using STOOD for STAYED, as in I stood home last night. Gah!

    The other is instead of saying asphalt (ASS-FAULT) the local guys say ASH-FAULT. Makes me crazy!

    Feel free to correct/bring to my attention anything you see in my blog that lights you up!

  8. Oh, Leah, you struck a nerve on this one. Every day - seriously, every day I see egregious grammatical errors and it's like fingernails on a chalkboard, enough to send me screaming away from my computer. Thanks for pointing some of these out to us - keep up the good work. Would enjoy reading more of your finds in this department.