Grammar Giggle – Febuary

It’s a fact that February is the hardest month of the year to spell. My 13-year-old granddaughter sent me this one that looks like it was at one of her brother’s wrestling tournaments. I’m so proud of her for catching the mistake and I can feel her mother rolling her eyes from here! ūüôā To make matters worse, not only is February misspelled, but when you use a complete month, day, and year format for the date, you only use the number for the day without using the ordinal figure number (8th). If this sign were correct, it would say “February 8, 2014.”

Febuary

Grammar Giggles – Justin . . . and Double Negatives

I found this one on Twitter and since it is so timely, I’m sharing it with you. Double negatives are where you use two negative words which generally cancel each other out. Here is a perfect example of that:

Image

Saying “We never won’t” means we will because “we won’t” means we¬†will not¬†do something, but adding “never” means we will¬†never not do¬†something or, less confusingly, we¬†will¬†do it. Granted, this was probably posted by a tween (although they still should know better), but this error totally defeats the purpose of the message.

Because Awesome!

 

I’ve seen a couple of places a new “Word of the Year” as voted on by the American Dialect Society (“ADS”) for 2013. The ADS fancies itself “the best” because, like the Oscars, it is the last group to choose the “Word of the Year” at its January conference. ADS’s word for 2013 is¬†because–both as its Word of the Year and as the most useful word of 2013. Why did they choose¬†because? First some background on the ADS. It is a group of linguists, lexicographers, and other language scholars. This group holds an annual three-day conference full of academic sessions and paper presentations and holds it in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America so they have nearly 200 people voting on their Word of the Year and other awards. The ADS even has a New Words Committee. A whole committee dedicated to seeking out new words. But on to why¬†because is the ADS Word of the Year.

According to Ben Zimmer, chair of ADS’s New Words Committee,¬†because¬†is “. . . a very old word that’s deeply embedded in the language, which people are finding new ways to use, and very often it’s intentionally laying with established rules of grammar. I think the fact that this is such a linguistic innovation really appealed to a room full of linguists.”

So in addition to using because before a full clause or with the word of, it is apparently now appropriate to use it to precede a noun, like because job, or before an adjective, like because awesome. 

Other ADS winners were most creative (catfish, which is to misrepresent oneself online–usually on a social website), most unnecessary (sharknado, made famous by a made-for-TV movie), and most likely to succeed (binge-watch, which is watching several episodes of a show in one sitting).

It will definitely take me a while to get used to this one, but hopefully I can get used to it because awesome! (It will take a LOT of getting used to!)

 

Grammar Giggle – What Kind of Shot?

A friend sent this one to me. Not only do you need to be aware of leaving letters out, but you also need to be aware of slang or local language. I’m just not sure I’m brave enough to even test these shots.

Flu shots

Grammar Giggle – Jucer

I’ve heard juicing is good for you, but I’m not sure that’s what this piece of Black & Decker equipment does. At least that’s not¬†exactly¬†what the label says.

Black and Decker Jucer

Not Only More Subject/Verb Agreement But Also Intervening Clauses

questionWe’ll look at more subject/verb agreement today. If you missed last week’s topic, please see “Singular Verb, Plural Subject, Both . . . and, It‚Äôs All About the Agreement.”

When you have two subjects connected by and and preceded by each, every, many a, or many an, use a singular verb.

  • Every car, truck, and van on the street is going 15 miles over the speed limit.

The same sentence without every would use a plural verb.

  • All cars, trucks, and vans on the street¬†are going 15 miles over the speed limit.

When you have two singular words joined by or, either . . . or, neither . . . nor, not only . . . but also, the subject is singular and so you use a singular verb.

  • Neither the bride nor the groom was ready to walk down the aisle.
  • Either basil or¬†mint is called for in the recipe.
  • Not only¬†billing¬†but also¬†his expense reimbursement needs to get done on the first day of the month.

If, however, the subject is two or more plural words joined by or, either . . . or, neither . . . nor, not only . . . but also, then the subject is plural and you must use a plural verb.

  • Neither¬†the paralegals¬†nor¬†the attorneys¬†have¬†any time for that project.
  • Either red roses¬†or¬†white daisies¬†make¬†her happy.

Just to keep it confusing, if you have a singular and a plural subject joined by or, either . . . or, neither . . . nor, not only . . . but also, your verb should agree with the nearest part of the subject. It usually sounds better to have plural verbs, so where possible, you should try to move the plural subject closest to the verb whenever you can.

  • Neither¬†Joe¬†nor¬†his brothers are going to the beach.
  • Neither¬†Joe’s brothers¬†nor Joe¬†is¬†going to the beach.
  • Not only research knowledge¬†but also¬†grammar skills¬†are¬†important in a job search.

When you have an intervening clause between subject and verb (or multiple subjects and a verb), ignore the intervening clause to determine if you need a singular or plural verb.

  • The¬†point¬†of the exercises¬†was¬†to teach correct use of apostophes.
  • Only¬†one¬†of the examinees was prepared with supplies.

I hope that helps with subject/verb agreement. If you have any questions about this or have another topic you would like to see covered, please let me know at proofthatblog@gmail.com. Also remember that you can add your email address to the “Subscribe to Blog via Email” area on the top right hand side of the page and the posts will be emailed to you! Lastly, if you are learning something, please share with others who might be interested. Thanks!

Grammar Giggle – Suga, ah Honey Honey

A friend sent this to me and I immediately thought of the Archie’s song “Sugar, Sugar.” It doesn’t appear to be a space or margin issue, just an issue of not including all the letters and not checking to make sure it was right.

Suga

Grammar Giggle – Is THERE Too Much Focus On Wrong Words, ESPN?

It is so disheartening that ESPN could make this error. This is the kind of error I see on Facebook a lot, but ESPN’s business is words and they should get it right. Their, there, they’re–they may all sound alike, but they are very different!

ESPN

Singular Verb, Plural Subject, Both . . . and, It’s All About the Agreement

Subject verbOne thing everyone learned in the fourth grade that hasn’t changed is that your verb must agree with your subject–both in number and person. For example:

  • He is anxious for his test results. (Singular verb¬†is¬†agrees with singular subject¬†he.)
  • They are the noisiest group in the office. (Plural verb¬†are¬†agrees with plural subject¬†they.)
  • Your order for six laptops is on the reception desk. (Singular verb¬†is¬†agrees with singular subject¬†order.)

Where you have a subject with two or more words connected by and or both  . . . and, the subject is plural and requires a plural verb.

  • Andy¬†and Sharon were nominated for office.
  • Both the set up and delivery of the computer were included in the price.

However, when two things connected with and actually refer to the same thing, use a singular verb.

  • Hamhocks and beans is his favorite New Year’s Day tradition. (Hamhocks and beans is one dish so it needs the singular verb¬†is.)
  • The secretary and treasurer of the association is Mary. (Two positions handled by one person requires the singular verb¬†is.)

That’s it for today, but we will follow up with more next week. Go forth and engage in plural and singular subject/verb agreement!

 

Grammar Giggle – Let’s Go Wresaling!

My brother caught this one on the evening news the other day. Perhaps it is spelled semi-phonetically, but it is very obviously wrong . . . on so many levels.

Sign