Grammar Snob Quickie Quiz #3

Are you ready to kick off the work week with the third Grammar Snob Quickie Quiz?  For those of you who were a bit thrown off by last week’s question, I promise today’s quiz is a little more grammatically traditional.  

Here are the results of last week’s quiz:

GSQQ2

The correct answer is “None of the above.”  For a detailed explanation, please see the string of comments on the post.  If you want the shortened version:  octopuses, octopi, and octopods are all accepted by scientists as terms for more than one octopus.  You will not find a scientist who accepts meese to mean more than one moose or bi to describe more than one bus, but you will find scientists that accept multiple terms for more than one octopus.

Now let’s get back to basics.  Here’s this week’s question:

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Lost in translation

In tonight’s post, I’m going to stray–ever so slightly–from the subject of grammar.  I will, however, keep the topic within the realm of the English language.  I invite you to join me as I laugh mercilessly at an advertisement for a vest.

In high school, I studied French for three years.  I’m all too familiar with the frustration of translation; therefore, I understand that imperfect translations are bound to happen:

Chinese to English: could be worse…

But there’s a big difference between an imperfect translation and downright gibberish.  (Click to enlarge.)

Korean to English: ouch, my brain!

Bahahahaha!

Wait, I’m not finished laughing.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Because I have firsthand experience with trying to speak a language I hardly know, I can’t justify criticizing this awful translation.  However, that doesn’t mean I won’t laugh my ass off every time I read it.

Man-eating Chicken

Photo Credit: Freaking News

Imagine you are eight years old again, and your parents say to you:  “Today we’re going to take you to see a six-foot man-eating chicken behind glass.”  When my parents said that to me almost 20 years ago, my mind was bombarded with images of the world’s biggest chicken, isolated behind thick, impenetrable glass and being fed whole goats to suppress its appetite so it didn’t get a craving for “Bob” or “Larry.”  All morning long, this is what I had imagined.

Around lunchtime, the suspense was making me irritable.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the oversized monster chicken.  Part of me didn’t want to believe my parents.  After all, how is it that I had lived eight long years without ever having seen a real man-eating chicken?  But my parents continued to promise that in the afternoon, I would get to witness the six-foot man-eating chicken behind glass.

The anticipation was tormenting me.  I grew more impatient than a 14-year-old girl waiting in line for a Justin Bieber concert.  Surely, this would be the most incredible day of my life.  My friends were going to PEE themselves when I told them what I’d seen.  Hell, I was ready to pee myself and I hadn’t even seen it yet!

At last, my parents appeared in my bedroom doorway and said it was time to go.  In the car, I barely managed to control my enthusiasm.  Every intersection, every turn, and every traffic light was ushering us closer to the fowl phenomenon.  When my father steered the car into the parking lot of a KFC, I was, to say the least, confused.

Sometimes it’s useless to question my parents’ decisions; stopping at the KFC was one of those times.  I followed them into the restaurant and absent-mindedly ordered chicken tenders.  We waited at the counter until an employee presented us with a tray of food.  As soon as we slid into a booth, I began to pester my parents.  What were we doing at KFC?  I thought we were going to see a man-eating chicken!  GOD, I JUST WANT TO SEE A MAN-EATING CHICKEN!

My mom and dad exchanged glances.  My mother motioned to my dad’s plate, which held a variety of extra-crispy chicken parts.  “The man-eating chicken,” she said.  “You’re looking at it.”

“That’s dad,” I argued.

By now, my dad was all giggles.  Still puzzled, I stared helplessly at my mother.

“Yes,” my mom confirmed.  “He is a six-foot-tall man, and he’s eating chicken behind glass.”  For emphasis, she motioned to the glass windows that were painted with blurbs about 8-piece meals.

In my mind, I uttered every swear word my young, innocent ears had ever heard.  To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  But twenty years later, I can share this story as an example of how delicate grammar can be.  I recently read an article on The Huffington Post in which Kimberly Tan argues that grammar is of little importance and that content is all that truly matters in a piece of writing.  Well, honey, I hate to break it to you, but grammar matters.  For Pete’s sake, in my story above, the presence of an EN DASH changed the entire context of a statement.  The content was the same:  a string of words consisting of a six foot tall man eating chicken behind glass.  Only the en dash alters the meaning of the words, depending on where it is placed.

Some people read my blog and think I’m anal and judgmental.  Hell yes—when it comes to grammar, I am certainly anal and judgmental.  But when all it takes is a little dash to completely modify the way the words in our language are perceived, shouldn’t we all feel that way?

Literal translations for the amateur grammarian

I’m SO TIRED of seeing this kind of thing: “Your such a good friend!”

Hell’s bells, is it really that hard to understand???

Someone once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I’d say it was Gandhi, but apparently his utterance of these words is debatable. Anyway, I yell at and poke fun at and criticize the people who make “obvious” grammatical errors, yet I never do anything about it. I’ve compiled the grammatical errors that drive me most batty so that I could present them in such a way that might make sense to the people who don’t understand my frustration. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a series of pictures that will translate, quite literally, what is really being said when something is written using improper grammar.

Visit www.theretheyretheir.com to learn more about how to use there, their, and they’re correctly.

Visit www.totootwo.com to learn how to master to and too.

For a quick, simple lesson on your and you’re, go to www.youryoure.com.

I would hope you’d know the difference between the two, but if you’re in need of are/our help, click here.

For the love of Pete, please learn the difference between then and than by clicking here.

It’s simpler than it looks. (Haha, I’m punny!) Learn more here.

Become an accept/except expert here.

If you still think I’m too anal about grammar, get off my blog and go read some Craigslist ads.

Since your grammar is awful, I get to make fun of you

I’m starting to wonder if there are people who truly don’t know that the word you’re exists.

For instance, the person who did this:

Did this person have his/her fair share of beer before making the sign, or is he/she one of the unfortunate English speakers who doesn’t have a clue that your and you’re aren’t interchangeable?

On the Soapbox #1: Friends with Benefits

I’m going to try something new on the Grammaniac blog. I’m starting a category of “On the Soapbox” posts, in which I will choose an issue related to words, writing, or grammar, and I will dedicate a post to my true feelings on the subject. Hopefully, it will provide at least a tiny morsel of entertainment to some of my regular readers.

I recently read an article in which two women faced off on whether or not “friends with benefits” is a good idea. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the concept—if I’m putting time and effort into a man, he’d better be all MINE.

However, a strange thought occurred to me after I read the article. I have several “friends with benefits.”

Why do we have friends? For companionship, for support, for someone with whom to share our interests. Does anyone seriously want to tell me those aren’t considered “benefits”? What’s a friend without benefits? The kind that borrows money and never pays you back? The one who only calls when they need a designated driver, or when they want some action? Oh, wait…that last one IS the friend with benefits. Silly me.

I find it interesting that a regular booty call is dubbed a “friend with benefits,” when the real benefits of friendship have nothing to do with sex. In fact, most FWB situations I’ve seen have ultimately led to the detriment of what was once a real friendship. We should be calling these pseudo-relationships “friends with sexual incentives” or “friends who screw each other.” But friends with benefits? Any real friend is going to provide you with some benefit. And that doesn’t mean you get naked together.

That’s my two cents.