It’s true. The art of punctuation, the knowing of when “whom” is appropriate, distinguishing between what’s right and what the British mangled beyond recognition – all of it is ruining my life.
By definition, hobbies are to be enjoyed. Runners like the torture that is manual transportation. Hunters love sitting in the cold and dark before popping off ear-ringing rounds.* Even painters are soothed by the creation of art – even when it’s crap. My hobby, however, points out blunders.
Marketing campaigns that post 1) “MPG’s,” 2) “salad’s,” 3) “”desserts,”” or even 4) “Pizzas”** are a constant stick in my craw. It’s likely money was spent on these ads, did someone not think to ask a second grade teacher for reference?
Alas, they did not.
Instead, I am forced to send snooty emails to J.C. Penny’s for their incorrect use of “everyday,” to which they sent a thoughtful, albeit incorrect, reply. The second company I contacted about grammar errors soon after went bankrupt; I like to think the events were related.
Yes, this makes me a huge hag – which is even more reason to claim grammar as a life-ruining skill. I’m like Kirstie Alley with fad diets; the awareness is there, but we can’t not sign up for Xylo-thin, the magic waist-shrinking drug. Our will is too strong.
Besides, how many tire salesmen would sit back and watch a stranger drive with ill-placed lug nuts? – affecting the driver’s and other travelers’ safety. Each salesman would speak up, fix the tire bolts, and walk away knowing they had done a good deed. That is my best and most realistic comparison.
Of course, there are always judgment calls in grammar: t-shirt (love it), scuba (hate it), and lining up multiple punctuation characters in a row (want to have its babies).
But for the most part, rules are rules. They’re, their, and there all have concrete definitions. Ellipses are overused and decades rarely have ownership. Em dashes are right dashes. Long live the Oxford Comma, and 89 percent of the time, periods go inside quotation marks – 99.6 percent for commas.
This love of grammar is a torture I must live with – and worst of all – that others must listen to; I apologize in advance.
*BTW, I totally support hunting; I do not support being cold.
**If you don’t know why these examples are incorrect (and if you care):
1) The apostrophe is only used to convey missing letters. That’s it < here, it signifies the absent “i” from “is”. (This period is an 11 percent example.)
In cases of possession, as in: “This is Francisco’s cigar,” the apostrophe stands for the missing “hi” in the contraction. Formerly, “his” (known as the his genitive) was gender neutral and used to show ownership.
Old school form: “This is Francisco his cigar.”
Correct form: MPGs
2) Same explanation as above, only with lower case letters. In most cases, salads do not own, although “the salad’s croutons” is acceptable.
Correct form: salads
3) This was hard to convey with double American quote marks ( “ and “ ), but unless someone said it, don’t use the marks. Rare other cases are allowed, such as separating words or letters from the rest of the sentence (look above for examples). Sarcasm also works.
Manny, the amazing guy that he is, presented me with The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks within our first month of dating. It was then I knew I wanted to keep him.
Correct form: desserts
4) In English, only proper nouns are capitalized – meaning names, certain titles, and beginnings of complete sentences. Unless “Pizzas” is a given name (eg. Pizza Franklin Carter) or beginning of a sentence, such as: “Pizzas should be served on days that end in ‘y’.,” a little “p” it shall receive.
Word and iChat disagree, often capitalizing peon words into more important forms.
Correct form: pizzas