Grammar check is NOT your friend

A few years ago I edited a document my mother had typed up and when I scolded her (a straight-A college graduate) for her grammatical errors, she blamed it on the grammar check on Microsoft Word. Since I never use grammar check, I thought her excuse was stupid–until, that is, I finally got curious and did a grammar check of my own one day.

Seriously, grammar check sucks.

Let me give you an example. Today I was typing a short story; after typing a sentence, one word was underlined and I right-clicked it to see why. I am now convinced of two things: Microsoft Word is delivering subliminal messages about baseball, and grammar check is a waste of time. Just to be sure you’re following me, take a look at grammar check’s wise suggestion:

Enough said. The lesson, kids? Don’t let computers edit your papers.

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Waiter! There’s an apostrophe in my hot dog!

In my very first post on this blog, I made this statement: “I hate poor grammar.”

I take it back.

I realized today, as I pulled up next to this vehicle at a red light, that finding grammatical mistakes makes me squeal like a little girl and as much as I hate it, I can’t deny that I have a sickening love for it as well.

Honestly, how does a person not know that apostrophe doesn’t belong in “hotdogs”?

I guaranty this is incorrect

Their food might be good, but their grammar needs a little work. The ad should read “we guarantee,” but apparently they took the shortcut.

[Note: “Guaranty” is the correct spelling of a real word; however, it is a noun and cannot be used in place of the word “guarantee.”]

In their defense, art is actually their strong suit…

This is a small and insignificant error, but I’m bothered by it every time I read it because of how it doesn’t flow right due to a missing letter.

In case you aren’t with me and my nitpickiness, the mistake is the phrase “a antibiotic” on the second line. Those of us who’ve progressed past the first grade would know it should be “an antibiotic.” They did good work on my tattoo, though, so now that I’ve gotten it out of my system I’ll leave them alone. =)

Balloon Specials

The person who made this sign must have been getting high on helium while they were typing. First of all, what does “wanderful” mean? Second of all, I wonder why there’s an extra “s” at the end of the word “princesses.”

Motivational FAIL

I love this calendar because the people who made it didn’t waste any time on the poor editing; they started off using “to” instead of “too” on the very first page.

I had to resist the urge to bust out the bottle of correctional fluid and add another “o” to the end of the word. Seriously, I was embarrassed to have a grammatically incorrect calendar displayed on my cubicle wall at work.

I’m going to “milk” this one for all it’s worth

As I was reading through the movie reviews in today’s newspaper, I stumbled across a typo that’s so big it really shouldn’t have been overlooked. I took a picture of the whole article so you’ll have to enlarge it to get the full effect, but in essence this is what happened: the review is for the movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and the headline reads, “‘Dairy’ chronicles middle-school horrors.'”

I would guess this is a case of someone relying on spell check rather than actually proofreading. Tisk tisk.

[Source: Moore, Roger. (2010, March 19). ‘Dairy’ chronicles middle-school horrors. Scene, pp. 5.]

The “acception” to the except/accept rule?

Book typos happen. Sometimes, if you look hard enough, you can find that missing period or apostrophe or that lowercase letter that should have been capitalized. Those are, although annoying, understandable.

Recently I picked up a copy of the book Schooled by Anisha Lakhani and found a mistake so awful I have to wonder if the publishing company has children proofreading their material.

The offending sentence is in the middle of the page: “And when did faux mitzvah enter everyone’s vocabulary accept mine?” ACCEPT? Seriously?

Wow.

The worst part about this one is that the accept/except rule is one of the most BASIC rules of grammar. It fits into the same category as their/there/they’re, its/it’s, to/too/two, etc. How can a book editor overlook something like this? Sheesh.

[Source: Lakhani, Anisha. (2008). Schooled. New York, NY: Hyperion.]

In other news…

On the first day of my news reporting and writing class in college, the professor handed out a grammar test to be graded during the following class session.  You would think, based on this information, that grammar is a pretty vital part of journalism–right?

I think it would be safe to say it’s important, unless you’re a certain news station in Boise (I won’t name names, but it contains the letters K, T, V, and B).  Below are six snippets from their online articles, all containing one or more grammatical errors; I should also note that these examples come from four articles posted within the past three days:

Missing words and periods and commas, oh my!

(Source: http://www.ktvb.com)

Takin’ care of business

My first post here is short and straight to the point:  I hate poor grammar.  I hate it so much that I studied to become a copy editor—a dream that’s within my reach but near impossible to attain in this disappointing economy that has presented a competition too fierce for me to overcome.

So, as I come face to face with tidbits of writing that are written so poorly they make me cringe, I will document them here in order to build a portfolio of my skills as a copy editor.  Okay, and (I admit)  to get that giddy feeling I get when I correct a mistake.

Either way, it’s time for English speakers near and far to meet the Grammaniac.