What If I’m More Interested In The Property?

I saw this sign the other day and had to go back and make sure it said what I thought it said and to get a picture of it. For Sale Buy Owner? I don’t want to buy the owner, but surely someone is interested in the 4+ acres of property that would seem to be for sale if the sign were correct. Is the property for sale or the owner? It is definitely confusing.

For Sale

Age or Aged in Disneyland

IMG_0497I saw this sign more than once at Disneyland (consistency is good!). I thought something was wrong with it, so snapped this picture vowing to do some research and figure out if I was correct. The problem is whether it should be “age” or “aged.”
According to Gregg:
I interviewed a man aged 52 for the job. [NOT: a man age 52.]
I don’t plan to retire at the age of 65 [NOT: at age 65.]
NOTE: Elliptical references to age–for example, at age 65–should not be used except in technical writing such as human resources manuals.
See the chart on page 64 for the schedule of retirement benefits for employees who retire at age 65.
The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines “aged” as
1. a: of an advanced age <an aged man>
    b: having attained a specified age <a man aged 40 years>
2. typical of old age
Another source defines “aged” as “having reached the age of.”
So if you use those definitions with the Disney example, “Children under age 7 years must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older,” since the chaperone will have “reached the age of” 14 or “attained a specified age” (in this case, the age of 14), I think the Disneyland signs should be changed to either “Children under the age of 7 years must be accompanied by a person aged 14 or older” or “Children under 7 must be accompanied by a person 14 or older.”
Not everyone spends time in the happiest place on earth internally deliberating the correct usage of a word, but it is something I am pretty passionate about and it didn’t cut into my “happy time.” Now I just need to figure out how to use that passion to get a proofreading job with Disney.

The Phenomena of the Vortices and Cacti

twisted-juniperA friend and I were recently discussing what our possibilities for recreation are for a trip to Sedona, Arizona, this summer. When I said “vortexes,” her response was “shouldn’t it be vortices?” I had never heard that word, but told her I would investigate and use it as a blog topic. So here we are.

According to the Gregg Reference Manual nouns of a foreign origin retain their foreign plurals while some now have English plurals and others have two plurals—both foreign and English. How confusing is that? When there are two plural forms, one form may be preferred to the other and you are instructed to check your dictionary to be sure of the correct plural form.

I will not quote the entire section from Gregg, but it is interesting indeed. It is in the Tribute (11th) edition starting on page 204. Here are select entries:

WORDS ENDING IN US (the asterisk indicates the preferred form)
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
cactus cactuses cacti*
focus focuses* foci
nucleus nucleuses nuclei*
stylus styluses styli*
thesaurus thesauruses thesauri*
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
agenda agendas
dogma dogmas* dogmata
formula formulas* formulae
vertebra vertebras vertebrae*
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
addendum addenda
auditorium auditoriums* auditoria
consortium consortiums* consortia
curriculum vitae curricula vitae
erratum errata
maximum maximums* maxima
memorandum memorandums* memoranda
stadium stadiums* stadia
ultimatum ultimatums* ultimate
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
crescendo crescendos* crescendo
tempo tempos tempi (in music)
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
criterion criterions criteria*
phenomenon phenomenons phenomena*
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
appendix appendixes* appendices
crux cruxes* cruces
index indexes (of books) indices (math symbols)
matrix matrixes matrices*
vortex vortexes vortices*
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
analysis analyses
crisis crises
ellipsis ellipses
parenthesis parentheses
synopsis synopses
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
Adieu adieus* adieux
Bureau bureaus* bureaux
Plateau plateaus* plateaux
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
chaise longue chaise longues* chaises longues
hors d’oeuvre hors d’ouevres* hors d’oeuvre
maître d’ maître d’s

So did you learn anything from this taste of English and foreign pluralization of foreign nouns? I sure did! I was wrong and will forevermore refer to Sedona’s vortices correctly. Who knew?


Grammar Giggles – The House Has Its Own Trainer!

This was in my Facebook feed recently. Apparently this company wanted to get the attention of a house in Mesa for its program. Otherwise, it would have addressed it to Mesa RESIDENTS. And, once again, it also uses an apostrophe to make a word plural. It seems that a company paying to promote an ad would make sure it was correct.


The Case of The Stationary Stationery

I was in a CVS drugstore recently looking for something searching the aisle markers trying to find what we needed when this gem caught my eye:


I was taught a long time ago that when you’re talking about products to help you write a lEtter, use the stationEry with an “E.” That tip still holds true. StationAry means to stay in one place unmoving. Unfortunately for CVS they obviously know better because you can see part of an even bigger sign on the wall (but I took another picture to make it easier for you!):


You’ll note that they both have the same Spanish word, so they were attempting to show us where the stationery was located. At least the stationery is stationary!

P.S. – don’t do a Google search for a definition for stationAry, because this will come up:

Stationary images

I’m hoping that is only so they can catch people who don’t know the difference, but I’m scared that that is a very big hope!

Grammar Giggle – Licensed Under The Arizona Revised Statues

I swear I’ve looked at this license on my nail tech’s desk a hundred times, but just last weekend I finally saw IT. The mistake that I make on occasion, but in proofreading, I find it and make the correction. I do see it quite a bit because it is not something spell check would catch. Apparently, the State of Arizona spell checker didn’t catch it either. And just as an aside, I do not consider this a “fraudulent” purpose–it is an educational purpose. But I do wonder what the Arizona Revised Statues look like. What part of the statue was revised? What are they modeled after? Where are they located? What do you think an Arizona Revised Statue would look like?


Missouri Lawmakers Need To Be More Fiscally And Physically Responsible For Their Grammar

You know that a grammar error irritates the heck out of you when you bring a resolution before the State House to change instances commonly used on the floor of the House of an incorrect word–physical–to the correct word–fiscal. Missouri Representative Tracy McCreery did just that. Missouri Law

These two words have VERY different meanings. According to dictionary.com:

  • Physical (among other definitions): of or relating to the body; tending to touch, hug, pat, etc.; requiring, characterized by, or liking rough physical contact or strenuous physical activity 
  • Fiscal: of or relating to the public treasury or revenues; of or relating to financial matters in general.

Obviously on the floor of the House when they are discussing the state’s finances, fiscal is the appropriate word. If they were talking about school physical education issues, it could be either–if it is a money issue, it would still be fiscal issues with the physical education program, and if it were just about the schools’ physical education program itself it would be physical.  Although it seems that perhaps an email could have accomplished the same thing, I’ve got to hand it to Rep. McCreery for making a statement for proper grammar usage.

Why, Yes, It Is Ironic!



With many thanks to a reader who emailed that she disagreed with my article Isn’t It Ironic because I said that by saying you “couldn’t care less,” you actually cared a little bit. The reader sent me a post by my hero Grammar Girl and an entry from Dictionary.com straightening me out. I have since changed the original article, but here is what convinced me I was wrong:

According to Grammar Girl, the phrase “I couldn’t care less” was originally from Britain and came to the US in the 1950s. It means you could not care any less than you do, so you do not care. In the 60s, the phrase “I could care less” appeared in the US. Some would say it was because sloppy or slurring speakers left off the “n’t” part of “couldn’t.” The whole phrase is ironic. If you say you “could care less,” it means you have a little bit of caring left, which is probably not what you mean. If you really REALLY don’t care, you “couldn’t care less.”

I’ve mentioned more than once that I am not an expert and I truly do appreciate when I am corrected (especially with proof of my error) so that I can fix my mistake. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen with every blog post, but it has happened a time or two.

Is there something that you are wondering about or have a burning question you would like an answer to? Email me at proofthatblog@gmail.com and I’ll do what I can to get an answer for you. In the meantime, I will work to find topics of interest to share and hopefully will be correct in my analysis of research to help others learn. As always, thank you for your support!

Grammar Giggles – Sometimes They Do and Sometimes They Don’t

This is an example of the fact that headlines (and document headings as well) also need to be proofread. They need to be checked not just for misspellings but also for whether or not they make sense, as in this example. A “homicide victim” would be dead because they were the victim of a homicide. The dictionary definition of “homicide” is “murder,” so I’m pretty sure that victim is not talking. The fact that homicide victims rarely talk to police is inaccurate and doesn’t make sense. I would venture a guess that homicide victims NEVER talk to police.

Homicide victims