Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Well, Since YOU Mentioned It

We all have our things.

When he’s driving, my husband is- how do I say this- extremely sensitive to the driving habits of EVERYONE else on the road. As a result, even though the other drivers can't hear him, he gives- what should I call them- suggestions to his fellow drivers.

My sister is in the design industry, so when we go somewhere, she often notices things that I wouldn't, such as the layout, choice of flooring, and colors. (I’m usually like, “Where’s the bar?”)

I imagine that Rachel Zoe walks down the street mentally fixing people's outfits and that the Super Nanny can’t shop at a supermarket without silently criticizing the parenting skills of the mom who just gave in to her toddler’s tantrum and bought the Sponge Bob cereal.

I, of course, am very grammar sensitive. I see and hear grammar errors everywhere. In fact, I just cringed because someone said, “There’s too many pages.”

Me in my head: There ARE too many pages.

I really do try to keep this stuff in my head. There is a fine line between being helpful and coming off as a know-it-all asshole. Sometimes, an unsolicited correction will slip out of my mouth, but I do try to keep my grammarness to myself unless, of course, I’m teaching or blogging.

For example, there’s a sign that is plastered to the door of the staff lounge at my work that says, “Open door slow.” Every morning, when I walk in, I shake my head as I silently lament the lack of the ly, and get on with my day.

So, if I worked at the place where the following memo was distributed, I would have noticed the spelling error, but I would not have been the person to make the spelling correction:

I found this on jezebel.com, and the comments reflect the controversy of whether it was insensitive or respectful to make the spelling correction.

Well, as I said before, I wouldn’t have initiated it, but, you know, since someone else already did, might I just add:

I wouldn’t capitalize the word dear, co-worker or friend.

I would put a period after There is not going to be a service held.

I would capitalize thanks and put a comma after it, put an apostrophe in don’t, put a period after necessary, and a colon after point.

And, if I were the deceased, I would be pissed that there wasn't going to be a service held by my "dear" friends and haunt the office. First stop, swap the regular morning coffee for decaf.

* Luckily, however, not all people are as seemingly cold as the people who work in the aforementioned office. Theresa Milstein from the blog Substitute Teacher's Saga has dedicated herself to an important cause. Click here to see how you can help.

And, James Garcia Jr. at Dance on Fire generously awarded me the Circle of Friends Award. Thanks, James.


Theresa Milstein said...

Want to be my beta reader?

While I'm not as savvy as you, it does drive me nuts when I see errors. No matter how many lessons I gave fifth-graders on your/you're and there/their/they're, I'd still get papers riddled with these mistakes. "Your the best teacher" would always be written on my cards. Apparently, I wasn't the best teacher.

Meg O. said...

I love this. One time my mother made grammar and spelling corrections to a menu and handed it to a manager. It was brilliant. I hope to do the same thing one day when I find mistakes such as that.

You're not alone in this world. I would be thinking the same things, too. It's irritating when you constantly use your education and other people don't.

Anonymous said...

So what is your thoughts on this...I was at the grocery store and a guy asked the cashier if he can get $ back so she says "Yes and you don't have(I think she actually said got here, I am being nice) to buy nothing" My thing is you can't buy nothing right??? But you can buy anything...So she could have said "You don't have to buy anything" Right???

Beth Mann said...

You are not alone, my friend. My husband is a TEACHER and he makes mistakes all the time, especially in emails. Granted, he's a computer teacher, so it's not like he's teaching English to these poor, impressionable children, but STILL! I can't believe they haven't fired him yet. Or at least made him repeat fifth grade grammar. ;) Shh...I didn't say any of that.

P.S. I love Rachel Zoe, but seriously? Sister needs to eat a cheeseburger!

Boonsong said...

This is a fascinating and as always very humorous post. But it does beg the question, "Are grammar rules absolute?" Spelling rules are not.
I would have capitalised Co-worker and Friend to give emphasis and add an indication of respect (as if I were bestowing a title) - right or wrong it would seem appropriate. Likewise I know that I consistently make grammatical errors on my blog, sometimes for effect and very often because I know no better.
Incidentally, what a happy and lovely bunch of 'co-workers' the noters/posters in the above photo are. One of their dear colleagues pops his/her clogs and they use it as an excuse to shove it up one another. Nice people....

Have a nice grammatically perfect day, Boonsong

Mary Aalgaard said...

Some people never care enough about those differences in frequently messed up words. Some never understand it. Some get way too worked up about getting it write ;). It happens. The point, in the end, is, did the message get across clearly?

Anonymous said...

I think I'd probably be reaching out from the grave to correct that myself if it was a notice about my "pasting". That said, I still make mistakes, so I try not to get all self-righteous about it. I once had a stranger correct a comment I had left for someone on a FB wall. That was a little over the top and it totally irritated me. There are some places where grammar and spelling mistakes should just be ignored and not fussed over. (Death notices and FB walls being two of them.) - G

Emily said...

By the way, that notice on the lounge door USED to read "slowly," but the "Y" peeled off and I think a certain maintenance employee felt it easier to just rip off the "L" rather than fix it. And it's crooked. It annoys me every time I see it.

Julie Musil said...

My husband is the EXACT same way when he drives! Ugh!

notesfromnadir said...

Really a fascinating look at our society today. Yeah, I noticed the past/passed mishap but what really stood out as much, if not more, was the fact that no service would be held. All I get is a series of questions, the 1st 1 being WHY NOT?

The Barreness said...

I would absolutely have made the corrections, and then left a note of my own that read:

"If you have any further questions about how to communicate properly, please don't hesitate to contact me at thebarreness@live.co.uk. But do come prepared with coherent sentences."

Then again, I'm much less concerned about public perception than most, and am quite happy to be thought of as a demanding b*tch.

It gets really tricky when you move someplace like Britain where they just totally f*ck the grammar rules, to the pint where I genuinely don't know which is correct, in which country.


- I learnt that in school.
- I've taken a decision.
- I'll have the fillet (pronounced fill-it) steak, please.

All of the above are considered perfectly acceptable in English society.

W. T. F. ??

- B

Theresa Milstein said...

You have to see this. NOW!


Talli Roland said...

Ha! I can't believe this memo -- it's cringe-worthy on so many counts. I had a colleague who took it upon herself to correct every bad sign in Montreal (and being a French-English city, there were many to correct in both French and English!). I think she ended up having a nervous breakdown.

Missed Periods said...

Theresa, I checked it out. Hilarious.

Missed Periods said...

Christiejolu, if you don't buy nothing, doesn't that mean that you have in fact purchased something? Maybe she was actually a very savvy salesperson.

Walter Knight said...

Standards are important. You should assist my editor. I have yet to find perfection after an edit.

WalksLikeAnEgyptian said...

"In fact, I just cringed because someone said, 'There’s too many pages.'"

YOUR friend Mark (Panik) says this kind of shit - ALL the time! Drives me nuts.

But I never say a word.

I did, however, call him out on his double-negative useage. I'm going to have to start putting his name on the blackboard.

WalksLikeAnEgyptian said...


(I wonder if that error was Karma)