Grammar Giggle – I’ll Explain This Best To My Ability!

This was in a local breaking news post I received. I initially caught the “best to their ability” error–which should be “to the best of their ability”–and noticed that the last part of the last sentence could be rewritten to make much more sense. Something like “It is unclear if there were any other injuries to occupants in the area.” When you are proofreading for someone, don’t be afraid to change the language to make what they’re trying to say more clear. But please don’t just change it without letting them know what you changed. There are two reasons for this: (1) it could be a little learning lesson for them on how to word something so others will understand and (2) your edit may not be right and there may be a reason it was worded that way. Particularly in the legal field, I always redline my suggested changes to the documents I proofread. I know they are tired of seeing me delete commas, but there could be a method behind their madness and I could screw the whole thing up if I just made the changes without letting them know they are my suggestions. Happy proofing!

Grammar Giggle – Less or Fewer?

This was a picture in a Facebook group I’m in that made me stop and look again. It gives me the opportunity to discuss the difference between less and fewer. Less is something that can’t necessarily be counted such as “Jane wished there was less hate in the world.” Fewer, on the other hand, is typically something you can count, such as calories and the number of items you are putting on the grocery belt. Check out a helpful blog post here. For now, at least this company is consistent in their error, but it really should be “fewer” in both instances.

Grammar Giggle – Slow Down And Get It Right

I think news outlets are the worst at trying to get news headlines out quickly so they can beat their competition to it, but that sometimes leads to mistakes that shouldn’t be made. In this case, it looks to me like the headline was edited, but they didn’t edit the entire headline–just replaced one phrase with another, but didn’t remove all of the pieces of the replaced phrase. You will be amazed at how much the quality of your writing will improve if you will just slow down and actually read what you are writing.

Grammar Giggle – Envelop/Envelope

A reader sent this one to me. It took some researching for me to confirm that the warm water would “envelop” your body. Here is the Merriam Webster online dictionary definition of “envelop” and “envelope”

  • Envelop – transitive verb
    • 1: to enclose or enfold completely with or as if with a covering
  • Envelope – noun
    • 2: something that envelops: WRAPPER
      • the envelope of air around the earth

A transitive verb is defined as “a verb that requires a direct object, which is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that follows the verb and completes the sentence’s meaning by indicating the person or thing that receives the action of the verb.”

In this example, you are talking about the action the water takes on your body (direct object, which is a noun). Envelop is the correct word here because it will “enclose or enfold completely with or as if with a covering.”

Grammar Giggle – Apostrophes and Plurals

This example illustrates my pet peeve–using apostrophes to make a word plural. This was in our local Motor Vehicle Division office where I was renewing my driver’s license. They used the apostrophe incorrectly not once, but twice! Let me say this again, louder for the people in the back: You do not use an apostrophe to make a word plural. You only need the letters “s” or “es” for that depending on the word. You use an apostrophe only for showing possession or in a contraction to show where a letter or letters have been left out. If you have questions about that, check out Astrophail!

Grammar Giggle – Happy Monther’s Day!

A friend sent this to me and then I saw it over and over again in Facebook ads–always spelled this way. My friend wondered if the editor of the ad had trouble with their own mother and wasn’t sure if it should be “Monster” or “Mother,” so they combined it.

Grammar Giggle – NFL News

A local newspaper was apparently so intent on getting news out about rumors of a possible NFL trade that they forgot to read the news story. Here is just one paragraph of that story that I found three errors in–and I’m not even a real football fan!

Grammar Giggle – Accessaries

This was on a box in a package I received from something I had ordered on Amazon. I try to have lots of grace with things that aren’t spelled correctly according to American style in another country, but if merchandise from another country is being shipped for sale here in America, I think they need to take the extra time to make sure the instructions make sense and the packaging is correct. The reverse is also true–if an American is selling products in other countries, they should make sure that the instructions and packaging make sense in the country where they are marketing their merchandise.

Grammar Giggle – Before Or After?

I saw this online in a breaking news alert for a local television station. It was confusing because the breaking news headline said the shooting occurred “before” the car crashed (and they also used an unnecessary comma), but when I clicked on the actual news story, that headline said the shooting occurred “after” the car crashed. This is an example of why it is important to actually read what you’re writing and not trust that even if everything is spelled correctly, it is correct.

Grammar Giggle – No, You’re Nuts!

I saw this sign recently on a TikTok and couldn’t resist. This is a very common error. Just remember that “your” is something belonging to YOU, while “you’re” is a contraction for YOU ARE. Replace the word in question with “you are” and you’ll see that that is the one that works. Unless, of course, you are talking about the nuts that belong to you–which doesn’t make any sense. LOL!