Weekly Rant

Bad Grammar: Its [shudder] a Crying Shame

I'm going to irritate a lot of people with this one.

Everywhere I look--advertisements, restaurant menus, even newspapers and magazines--I see apostrophes where they don't belong. You know the kind: "The new Hyundai Accordion--leather seats, roomy interior, and a hi-gloss paint job on it's exterior that flies off completely at impact." Some people couldn't take the apostrophe out without a crowbar, applied liberally to the typewriter...or to the typist. And when they somehow manage to remember that the apostrophe doesn't always belong, they usually take it out of the wrong ones.

Remember the good ol' days, when spelling and punctuation mistakes were enough to make the average butt pucker? When the most dangerous weapon in the classroom was the Evil Eye you got from teacher and classmates alike? When school was more about getting the right stinking answer instead of feeling good about whatever answer you managed to come up with when you weren't doing everything in your power to avoid being called up to the chalkboard so the whole class could see that you've been using your geometry homework to calculate the surface area under Jenny Parker's tight little...

(cough) Sorry about that...

I don't claim to be a grammar authority. I couldn't point out a dangling participle if it starred in a porn film. But I know what makes a good sentence, and I know when something's wrong. A misplaced "it's" is one goof bad enough--and frequent enough--to make me go Postal, and start sending Strunk and White letterbombs to the editorial department.

When I was growing up, my dad didn't put up with bad spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Once, I wrote a letter home from sixth-grade camp; Dad corrected it and sent it back. It hurt then, but eventually I learned. Now that my scrotum is a bad-grammar divining rod, not a day goes by when I don't feel the bad-grammar tweak and wonder how many editing jobs I can pick up from local businessmen.

Perhaps I'm too picky. But its a little late (ouch) it's a little late to change my habits now.

Last Updated: April 27, 1996
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