18 July 2008

An Awkward Apostrophe in Pedantland

I submitted a photo my Mum and Dad took to http://www.apostropheabuse.com/ and you can see my submission right here.

But if you can't head on over due to work internet filters or whatever, here it is:

I think that's funny. How's your screen res? The white text reads "Have you had your eye's checked lately?" and some wit has graffitied "Yes!! Have you?!?" in response to the misplaced apostrophe in "eye's" (har har har!)

Now I myself have pretty leet grammatical & punctuation skillz, but when I see incorrect grammar and punctuation, I choose not to get all pedantic about it. Sometimes I leave errors in my blog posts because although I can see they're there, I don't really worry enough about them to go back in and edit them. Unless it's a piece of creative writing, I sometimes choose to leave errors in to keep it rough & real.

But this piece of graffiti on the sign was inspired! I just had to submit it!

I found this comment underneath the Eye Test Sign photo, and I must admit the commenter was on the money:

Is "instore" correct? I don't think it would bother me if it read "Instore optometrist," as the word "instore" is used as an adjective. But they created a prepositional phrase which should, I think, read "Optometrist In Store."

But really, I didn't care. I started wondering why it didn't bother me.

I know that there is a place called Pedantville. It is a place where each and every little spelling, grammar and punctuation error is exhibited and mocked by the entire population of Pedantland.

But I personally find the inhabitants of Nonpedantsburg are much nicer people in general, they focus their time and energy on important issues rather than tearing down the reputation of people making errors in written expression. They are also much more numerous.

Conversation with a Nonpedant flows nicely. But when you're talking to a Pedant, an interesting conversation can easily be derailed.

You: I just don't seem to think as quick as I used to.
Pedant: Quick-LY. (Awkward pause) It's an adverb.
You: Uh ... I -er- sorry, I lost my train of thought. I guess I just don't think as ... My mind isn't as ... um, oh is that the time? I really must run...

Or this:

You: None of the boys are coming today.
Pedant: None IS.
You: Wha-?
Pedant: None IS. "Each, every, either, neither and none are singular and require a singular verb." What, your school didn't teach you that?
You: (smack Pedant across the face.)

I used to be that pedant in conversations. Now I care more about the person I'm talking to than the correctness of the conversation.

Which one are you? To find out, take this quick quiz:

Question One:
Spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors on Killing A Fly have, in the past:
(a) completely passed me by
(b) jumped out at me, but I didn't feel the need to do anything about them
(c) bothered me for days, even weeks, and it's been hard not to crucify Givinya in the Comments.

Question Two:
The spelling of the word "graffitied" or the use of "grammar" vs. "grammatical" above:
(a) could be right, could be wrong. I couldn't care less.
(b) has had me wondering since I read those paragraphs.
(c) had raised my blood pressure and heart rate. I googled them, looked at Dictionary.com and then phoned three geeky friends to discuss them.

Question Three:
Givinya's conversational writing style:
(a) is great - it makes me feel like I'm in a comfy armchair across from her listening to her rambling on
(b) is probably acceptable, given that it's 2008 and yes *sigh* times change.
(c) completely does my head in. I have a blood splatter on my wall from where I've hit my forehead due to her maddening propensity to blatantly split infinitives and choose awkward words to end sentences with. ARGHH! Now I'm doing it myself!

What's your score?

Mostly "a"s - You're from Nonpedantsburg, and you're always welcome at Killing A Fly. Your spelling, grammar and punctuation isn't that crash-hot, so I think we'll get along just fine!

Mostly "b"s - Another Nonpedant. You and I both pick up those errors, my friend. But please put a lid on it: I kept them there for a reason. Maybe I needed the post to read like that, maybe I wanted to preserve a conversational tone and decided to start that sentence with "And" or maybe I just don't care. If I lose my internet connection more than once while I'm trying to get back into the post to edit it, I'll just leave the error there. Meh.

Mostly "c"s - Look, I don't think you or I will get along all that well. You may consider giving up your daily dose of Killing A Fly and decide to go and read a dictionary instead. I'm not interested in being dragged into the arena of your grammatical prowess in order to have mine savaged to death. (Not that anyone has actually done this before, I'm just saying.)

A friend of mine used to say to pedants, "You're so Pedontic!"

The pedant would be unable to restrain themselves from correcting, "Pedantic!"

...to which my friend would say, "Ah! Gotcha."

Too clever.


Anonymous said...

OK, sew does that mean that wee can't bee friends anymore? Mostly b answers, butt as eye am the only commenter witch has ever picked up on an obscure plural and been unable to fully stop myself chasing down what were correct and letting ewe no about it, I feel like I has made ewe feel bad. Humblest apologies.

And aving said that, did ardly any grammer at skool, so without chequeing things that sound rong, I'll never learn nuffin.
Hopefuly still you're friend Jen.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I'm a B. I pick it up, but I would never call you out.
I sometimes leave errors on my blog too.

wee bro said...

I got to the starting-a-sentence-with "And"" bit and thunk "where?" So I Ctrl+F'ed and looked for "And". I got a sentence in your previous blog about intestinal worms. I stopped searching.

Don't know what I scored in your quiz - I don't know the answers!! I know by rights, I should be about a D+ to C-. Isn't it spelled "Nonpedantsburgh"? I dunno - I've never been there.

I'm learning what a split infinitive is now, so I can use that in the future! And none is singular?!?!?! Wow!!

WheresMyAngels said...

Grammar is my worst. You will always see TONS of mistakes with my writing. and guess what. I don't care!! lol

But my supervisor does. Argh, that woman is forever correcting my reports!! lol

Veggie Mom said...

Im uh ingleesh tchr. dis pest i meen post is pricelous i meen priceless!

Jen said...

I am an A. My husband on the other hand is a grammar Nazi. He points out errors where ever we go. He was cringing at the first linked site.

Anonymous said...

I subscribe to a site called "World Wide Words" by Michael Quinnon. This little comment was tucked away in this week's newsletter and I thought it relevant...

'Eric Marsh said, "This item was timely for me as I've just become acquainted with the Law of Prescriptive Retaliation (perhaps it should be called The Nit-picker's Curse): corrections of linguistic errors are themselves inevitably prone to error." Erin McKean, who edits Verbatim Magazine in her spare time from being the editor of the Oxford American Dictionary, has coined a close relative, which is known as McKean's Law: "Any correction of the speech or writing of others will contain at least one grammatical, spelling, or typographical error."'

Priceless. Jen.

Veggie Mom said...

Ukelele: I tell ya, nachos are my favorite food group! You should try Aunt Julie's strawberry salad--it's delish!