Grammar Giggle – Easy To Assemble, But Difficult To Read

A friend sent me these assembly instructions for a desk she purchased. I assume the manufacturer’s first language is not English, but instructions on something you are selling in the United States are kind of important and they should take more care with translations. I am really impressed, however, with the proper use of “It’s” in the last sentence.

Grammar Giggle – Pease Pay More Attention!

I snapped this picture over the holidays at a local drive-through restaurant. The first, “day,” is singular yet they list several days. The second, “pease,” is obviously meant to be “please.” I realize “Drive Thru” is also incorrect as it should be hyphenated, but the spelling is listed in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as a variant or less common spelling. It is fine for this casual use, but I would not use it in legal documents.

Grammar Giggle – He Was Throwing What?

This popped up on a local news program on my phone. I’m still not sure what was thrown at the employees. Was it mice or was it knives? Proofreading involves reading ALL of the writing and making sure it all makes sense together. I’ve learned that people are typically bad at proofreading titles (and if you have your Word settings set to ignore words in all caps, turn that off!), so make sure you read the title and then make sure what follows matches the intent of the title.

REPLAY – Happy National Proofreading Day!

Now THIS is my favorite holiday of the year! It’s a chance for me to once again extol the virtues of the importance of proofreading. In fact, I wrote a blog post about how important proofreading is to law offices here. Let’s celebrate by proofreading that email you’re writing, the pleading you are filing today, or that memo to your boss. Happy National Proofreading Day!

Grammar Giggle – Alcohol Consumption May Make You Use The Wrong “You’re”

A friend sent this to me. They got it correct in one place, but not in another on the same sign. Perhaps they were out of the letter “e” or perhaps they just weren’t paying attention. In this sign, both should be “you’re,” the contraction for “you are.”

Ask PTB – Capitalizing id.

A reader recently asked if the abbreviation “id.” should be italicized and should the “I” be capitalized or not?

According to The Bluebook, id. is always italicized (including the period). Whether it is capitalized or not will depend on where it falls. If it is part of a sentence or a citation and doesn’t start the sentence or citation, it is a small “i” as in “See id.” Where it starts a sentence or citation, it is a capital “i” as in “Id. at 635.” There is more helpful information about id. in a blog post entitled Latin, Italics, And Punctuation.

Thank you for your question!

Grammar Giggle – Back Legs Only

This picture is an example of too much information. It seems that since chickens only have back legs–I think the front “legs” are called “wings”–this language is unnecessary and confusing. But in today’s litigious society, sometimes manufacturers do put what looks like ridiculous information on packaging to cover all of their bases.

Grammar Giggle – Hot Mess Memories – Part 2

After I posted the original Grammar Giggle on this photo, I had several people comment that I had missed some errors. I don’t always point out all of the errors–both to give the author some credit and so it doesn’t overwhelm the reader and make it seem worse than it really is. However, you’ve asked, so here is Hot Mess Memories – Part 2!

  • “Drive In” related to a theatre should be hypenated as “drive-in.”
  • There is a comma after “Street,” so either the next word should not be capitalized or, probably more appropriately, it should just start a new sentence so that the comma after “Street” should be a period and the next sentence should be reworked.
  • An ellipsis is three periods–not just two
  • How can “demolished apartments” be built in place of a drive-in? To be fair, apartments did replace the drive-in and they have since been demolished, but demolished apartments were not built in place of the drive-in.

I hope you have learned at least one thing from this Grammar Giggle. That is always my intent. I try hard not to humiliate any author and I use errors we see in public every day as a way to teach you correct grammar and proofreading issues–not to poke fun of anyone who just doesn’t know better. Once we know better, we can all do better!

Do All Titles Require a Period?

A friend recently emailed me asking if the rules for the use of “Mr.” had changed so that it did not require a period. I thought it was kind of a no-brainer and of course it needed the period. However, researching the topic shows me that I was wrong–kind of.

Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash

As with lots of other spellings, pronounciations, and other grammar issues, in this case, there is a difference between American English and British English. Putting a period after Mr. and Mrs. depends on whether it is American or British usage.

In British usage, where the abbreviation ends with the same letter as the word it is replacing, there is no period. Since “Mr” is the abbreviation for MisteR, there is no period. “Mrs” is the abbreviation for MistResS, so no period. The same rule applies to “Ms,” even though it is not really an abbreviation for anything but, instead, is a title of respect where a woman’s marital status is unknown or irrelevant. “Dr” is the abbreviation for DoctoR, so no period.

Where the abbreviation ends with a different letter, then British usage includes a period like American usage does, such as “Professor” abbreviated to “Prof.” needs a period because it does not end with an “r,” the last letter of “professoR.” It would be the same with “Capt.” as an abbreviation for “Captain.” Since “Capt.” doesn’t end with the last letter “n,” it needs a period.

American usage continues to use the period in all of these examples.

Just remember your audience so if you are in the United States and sending a letter to someone in the United States, you would use the American style with the period. If, however, you are sending a letter to someone in Britain, then you can leave the period off.