Apostrophe abuse!

This is just one picture, but the whole pamphlet was FULL of unnecessary apostrophes. Punctuation abuse is one of my biggest grammar-related pet peeves, so I had to post this if only to let off some steam. Since the picture is so busy, I’ll save you some trouble and point out that the offending words are “racer’s” and “toddler’s.”

The phantom apostrophe

It’s February 21st, which means I’m jealous of every government employee in the nation who doesn’t have to bother with going to work today. While they are (surely) still sleeping soundly, I am awake and should be getting ready to head to the office. Instead, I’m sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee and contemplating the ultimate question: Is it Presidents’ Day, President’s Day, or Presidents Day?

According to the dictionary, the correct way of writing it is Presidents’ Day, since it is meant to commemorate the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Then again, the entry on dictionary.com (my source) also failed to capitalize George Washington’s name–first AND last–so they deserve very little credit.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (government website) lists the 2011 Federal Holidays; however, according to their calendar, February 21st is simply Washington’s Birthday instead of Presidents Day with any form of an apostrophe. In this case, it should be President’s Day if we’re only commemorating Washington.

Personally, I’ve always viewed February 21st as a day to honor multiple presidents. Having said that, I’m sure my day will be filled with Presidents’ Days, President’s Days, and Presidents Days alike. That phantom apostrophe just can’t seem to make up its mind.

The abused apostrophe: It’s baaaaaack!

I spent my whole evening at the mall, shopping for clothes but also shopping for potential blog-worthy material (i.e., abuse of proper English). Not only did I walk away with several new items of clothing, but I got a photograph of this as well:

I guess it’s fine if people are renting these strollers and placing their children directly into them. I just hope they aren’t letting these children read the instructions.

On the Soapbox #2: Craigslist

Craigslist is the ULTIMATE place to go to find an endless supply of grammatical and spelling errors. Here on my blog, I try to refrain from playing grammar police on things like forums and social media sites. Although poor grammar drives me nuts no matter what the source, I feel I can only legitimately post about the errors made by people who should know better. That’s why I typically pick on businesses and printed publications.


In the “Rants and Raves” section of Craigslist, one thing people love to rant about is other posters’ terrible use of grammar, spelling, and syntax. Because I am a Grammar Nazi, I like to silently cheer them on in my head. The problem is, only a small fraction of these ranters use proper grammar, spelling, and syntax in their own posts.

Example 1: (Click to enlarge)

Let’s begin by examining this person’s example sentence: “I slept better than I did the night before.” When did you sleep better than the night before? And the night before when, exactly? Today? Yesterday? The 5th of December? My point: it’s not a complete sentence. What’s worse is the use of the word “witch” instead of “which.”

Example 2: (Click to enlarge)

I won’t even get into the painfully awful syntax of this post. But I got a good laugh out of the last sentence: “WRITING YOUR ENTIRE MESSAGE IN CAPS is annoying and just shows people your nuts.” Writing in caps exposes male genitalia? Yikes! (This is why we have apostrophes, people!)

Example 3: (As you’ve probably discovered by now, click to enlarge)

Aside from the racist remark that pushed my pissed-off button, there are two errors in this post that make the high-and-mighty poster look like an idiot. “There’s lots of carbs” and “there’s no taxes” are wrong, wrong, wrong. “There are lots of carbs” and “there are no taxes”? Much better!

If you want to criticize someone’s grammar, then go nuts. It’s your right to do so. But please, PLEASE, for my sanity and the sanity of other true grammar freaks: USE PROPER GRAMMAR when ranting about poor grammar. (Oh dear, I wrote in all caps for part of that sentence. Are my nuts showing? 😉 )

Didja know… (Round 2!)

Every year in Boise these calendars (containing local community info and coupons) get sent out in the mail. They’re pretty handy to keep around, but the person in charge of editing them did a terrible job! Earlier this year I made a post about one of their mistakes, and now that the 2011 edition has come out I get to make another one…

Hearts beat faster than men? How fast does a man beat? And what’s a “women heart”? If this read, “Women’s hearts beat faster than men’s hearts,” it would make much more sense. But wait, there’s more:

Not only is this one bit of trivia missing a few bits of punctuation (apostrophes and commas), but “the drops is” is one of the stupidest offenses in the grammar justice system. Oh, and just because you can say “roller coaster” really fast doesn’t mean it’s not two words.