A Superior Innovative Quality Post

September 1, 2011 at 6:32 am 10 comments

Yes. I’m a writer. I’ve been studying, learning, practicing, and making a living with the English language for more than 25 years. But I am not one of Those People. The ones who spitefully note grammar or spelling errors in friends’ emails or facebook posts. The ones who can spend two hours arguing whether or not the phrase anal retentive requires a hyphen. I couldn’t care less if my friends know the difference between who and whom. I truly sincerely assure you, I am not one of Those People.


If you are being paid money to communicate a message. And you bungle it out of what can only be stupidity or laziness. You. Annoy. Me.

This morning, I heard a radio commercial that claimed its product was “freakin’ great.”

Yikes. How crass and unprofessional. Yes, I realize it’s not actually the F-word, but it’s a slang that exists only as a stand-in for the F-word. (And, let’s be clear, I’m not nearly as offended by the F-word as I am by bad writing.) If you can’t think of a better adjective than freakin’, you should probably change careers.

Word Choice Matters
The words less and fewer are not interchangeable. (Used incorrectly in a financial services ad couple of weeks back, which made it extra amusing.)

Every day and everyday are also not interchangeable. Although I admit this one’s borderline pet-peevian.

People n’ Things
When referring to a human being, the pronoun is who, not which or that.

The Apostrophe
Learn how to use an apostrophe. The Joneses will thank you. The Joneses’ cat, however, will not care.

Lighten Up,  Frances
Must we really muddle meaning and/or mangle grammar simply to avoid using words like mankind? Really?

Interesting to note:  The word mankind derives from the word humankind (not penis).

Hackneyed Smack Need
You do not offer educational solutions; you’re a college. I don’t want creative banking or innovative toilet paper. Buildings, paper products, shampoo, cars, etc., are incapable of being environmentally conscious. Or any kind of conscious. Can we all admit this kind of sloppy writing is a problem (and not an opportunity)?

Stop It with the Ellipses

Also on the annoying list are reviewers who high-and-mightily, completely aghastly, so-oh-oh condescendingly spout things like, You can’t begin a sentence with a conjunction!

Yeah. Okay darlin’. Why don’t you take that tone and your 1902 diploma and go ask your doctor to bleed you with leeches to ease your blood pressure a bit.

Which Reminded Me
I once had a client call a boss and complain that I was a bad writer because I used prepositional phrases. And the boss called me into his office. I expected a chuckle of commiseration and time spent figuring out how best to interpret the feedback and magically edit the text in question. Instead. I got a lecture on the importance of customer satisfaction, a dramatic portrayal of his disappointment in my skill as a writer, and a stern warning to stop using prepositional phrases forthwith.

Which, you know, meant I was thereby forbidden to say, “Up yours.”

Hire a Professional
If you need wiring done, you call an electrician. If your pet is due for shots, you go to a vet. If you want to communicate clearly and effectively to business-related audiences, if you want to promote a professional image, if you want to get the most out of your media buy, use a professional writer.

Speaking of, how about a shameless plug for fellow-writer Christine Hollinger of WordPlay Writing? She’s a long-time colleague, kind blog follower, situational grammar consultant, and supporter of sanity. In other words, a life preserver. And a darn good freelance writer.

Entry filed under: Humor - Commentary, Life Preservers. Tags: , , .

Snail Mail My Email Project hpy bday 2 u

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Julie  |  September 1, 2011 at 7:02 am

    When you do this again, would you please include the uses for bring and take!!!! Drives me CRAZY.


    • 2. boatdrinkbaby  |  September 1, 2011 at 8:20 am

      that one is baffling; I always have to bring a minute and think about it ;)


  • 3. Ken Jordan  |  September 1, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Down girl!


  • 5. christineatwordplay  |  September 1, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Well how freakin’ nice is this, Beth? Thanks! And right back atcha. (I suppose you heard about Old Navy’s huge gaffe with their college t-shirts? (Click on a shirt — at least they have a sense of humor about it…. http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=71568) And lets (ha ha) not forget the new Downy Unstopables….(another ellipsis?) (more like unfathomables).


    • 6. boatdrinkbaby  |  September 1, 2011 at 7:30 am

      haha — love their response but what am I missing . . . have they corrected in thumbnails? (I’m guessing lets/let’s?)


      • 7. boatdrinkbaby  |  September 1, 2011 at 7:36 am

        p.s. Also had not heard about Unstopables. HA! Are they keeping it that way?!


      • 8. boatdrinkbaby  |  September 1, 2011 at 7:37 am

        p.p.s. I use elipses in email and stuff all the time; perfectly acceptable!


      • 9. christineatwordplay  |  September 1, 2011 at 8:13 am

        Oh…I couldn’t really tell if the new pix had the apostrophe in (middle-age eyes). Yes, all of the original tees had “Lets.”


  • 10. boatdrinkbaby  |  September 1, 2011 at 8:17 am




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