I know, I know: it’s missing its apostrophe. I’m glad you’re paying attention, folks, because it’s National Punctuation Day! Here’s how several media outlets celebrated this auspicious day … Continue reading
Well, which is it? Presidents Day, President‘s Day or Presidents‘ Day? Is the name of the American public holiday, which we’ll be celebrating on Monday, spelled with an apostrophe or not? And assuming it is a possessive day, i.e. belonging to either the first or all of our presidents, where should the punctuation be placed accordingly? Continue reading
He did? Get game? Or does that mean he has got game — currently — whatever “game”-without-an-article means? As in, “He’s got that thing called game”? Or did he get that article-less game last week, on the same night that he got milk? Maybe it becomes apparent when you see the movie (which I had the chance to do this evening when it popped up on my TV guide), but I think we can safely say that its title lacks clarity — unless game is an abstract quality that he acquired some time in the recent past…
Here are 15 other movie titles that could have done with a good edit. If you can’t work out where they went wrong, check out their copy-edited versions below. Continue reading
TGIF: That Gerund Is Funky. Stories about language usage in the news this past month include unexpected Latin translations; an inappropriate exclamation mark; a famous fictional advertising exec showing off his grammatical prowess; a grammatically correct bank robber; football fans ranked by spelling and grammar ability; a punctuation-free doctoral dissertation; and a very expensive web site name.
It’s National Grammar Day! To celebrate the occasion, take Glosso’s short quiz to find out if you know your grammar. Have fun and good luck!
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How many of the eleven images below depict a grammatical mistake? Post your number (no spoilers please) in the comments section; the answer, with explanations, will be published tomorrow. Continue reading
Glosso readers: may I ask for your help and input for a little usage exercise? It’s fun, and it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. (And I mean that in the British rather than the American sense.) I’m trying to determine whether a certain usage trend is disappearing in the UK while remaining healthy and robust in the U.S.
Please read these four sentences, which are nearly but not quite identical, and then answer the questions that follow (in the comments section below). There’s no “right” or “wrong” here: just answer honestly and without too much thought. Next week we’ll look at the results and what they might suggest.
Many thanks for your participation!
A) “Looking at the three designs, I was most drawn to the round one that bled outside the page border; however, I liked the square one too.”
B) “Looking at the three designs, I was most drawn to the round one which bled outside the page border; however, I liked the square one too.”
C) “Looking at the three designs, I was most drawn to the round one, that bled outside the page border; however, I liked the square one too.”
D) “Looking at the three designs, I was most drawn to the round one, which bled outside the page border; however, I liked the square one too.”
Q1: Are you American or British? (Or Australian, Canadian or other English-speaker?)
Q2: Do any of the sentences look strange or “incorrect” to you? (Let’s not give any explanations until we’ve gathered some reactions; we’ll examine the whys and wherefores in a follow-up post.) If so, please specify which sentence(s) you’d be inclined to edit.
Q3: Can you tell from any of the sentences how many of the three designs are round? If so, please identify the sentence and the number of round designs.
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That Gerund Is Funky: words, grammar, usage and language in the news this month.
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As cartoonists and demonstrators around the world raise and wield their pens in protest against the recent atrocities in France, the BBC asks the question: who first wrote or uttered the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword”? Continue reading
TGIF: That Gerund Is Funky. In grammar and usage news this month: a nationwide pun ban; how to pluralize your last name; grammar in Christmas carols; a new book from Steven Pinker; and how to talk like a New Yorker. Continue reading
Ah, the apostrophe.
It’s unquestionably the most misused punctuation mark in the English language — so much so that its errant form has its own nickname: “the greengrocer’s apostrophe” (and that’s from widespread abuse on signage by guilty tradesmen). Orange’s and lemon’s: says who?
But it does have a bit of a bad rap, this aerial word-comma: it’s really not as complicated as the world seems to think it is. Except perhaps when it comes to its typography, not to its role in spelling. Continue reading