Posts Tagged ‘goof’

This has been bugging us since the advertising campaign began a while ago. TBS, the cable channel, is perpetuating awful grammar with their slogan:

“more movie … less commercials.”

We caught this grammar gaffe during tonight’s showing of the wonderful movie The School of Rock.

We love the movie, however, it was an insult to our senses having this slogan displayed on the screen throughout. We went for the DVD.

Therefore, we are going to shamelessly steal from our earlier post: Less is not always more … and may continue to do so until correctness catches on.

OK, everybody repeat after us …

I will use “less” for amounts that cannot be counted as discrete items, such as water, sunshine, and money.

I will use “fewer” for numbers of items that can be counted as discrete items, such as drops of water, rays of sunshine, dollar bills, and … of course, commercials!

Get it? Got it. Good!

See our other previous post on this topic: Limit less …

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Last year, we entered a brief blog post on this subject as our Grammar goof of the day. It went like this:

 Seen in a National workforce report: “… top performers are the ones that will become invaluable … through the economic downturn.” Should be: who 

Apparently, our preference and our usage reflects a strict adherence to an interpretation of the reference to animate vs. inanimate nouns* (see usage note below), and even more strictly, distinguishing human animateness from other life-like forms. 

Yikes, that’s confusing! What do we mean? Simply, we like who for any reference to people and that for any reference to things (or animals).  

We did some research …

WHO –pronoun; possessive whose; objective whom.

1. what person or persons?: Who did it?
2. (of a person) of what character, origin, position, importance, etc.: Who does she think she is?
3. the person that or any person that (used relatively to represent a specified or implied antecedent): It was who you thought.
4. (used relatively in restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses to represent a specified antecedent, the antecedent being a person or sometimes an animal or personified thing)** (see comment below): Any kid who wants to can learn to swim.
THAT –pronoun and adjective, plural those; adverb; conjunction –pronoun
1. (used to indicate a person, thing, idea, state, event, time, remark, etc., as pointed out or present, mentioned before, supposed to be understood, or by way of emphasis): That is her mother. After that we saw each other.
2. (used to indicate one of two or more persons, things, etc., already mentioned, referring to the one more remote in place, time, or thought; opposed to this): This is my sister and that’s my cousin.
3. (used to indicate one of two or more persons, things, etc., already mentioned, implying a contrast or contradistinction; opposed to this): This suit fits better than that.
4. (used as the subject or object of a relative clause, esp. one defining or restricting the antecedent, sometimes replaceable by who, whom,  or which): the horse that he bought.
5. (used as the object of a preposition, with the preposition standing at the end of a relative clause): the farm that I spoke of.
6. (used in various special or elliptical constructions): fool that he is.
*Usage note: That is used to refer to animate and inanimate nouns and thus can substitute in most uses for who(m) … Many of the workers that (or who) built the pyramids died while working.
**Comment: Experienced writers choose among these forms not only on the basis of grammar and the kind of noun referred to but also on the basis of sound of the sentence and their own personal preference.

So, we were humbled by our research and although we are pleased to have Grammar Girl on our side, we will let up on those (people) who that choose to use that in certain references to humans.


What is your preference?

References: dictionary.com, Grammar Girl, Chicago Manual of Style, Prentice Hall Reference Guide, The Gregg Reference Manual

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Have you been to a meeting lately?


1. We admitted we were powerless over proper grammar—that our grammar had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a grammar greater than that which we use ourselves could restore us to proper usage.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the use of proper grammar as we learned it.

4. Made a searching and fearless oral, verbal, and written inventory of our grammar.

5. Admitted to the Grammar Police, to ourselves, and to a grammar school teacher the exact nature of our misusage.

6. Were entirely ready to have proper grammar remove all these defects of usage.

7. Humbly asked for proper grammar to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all grammar rules we had broken, and became willing to make corrections to them all.

9. Made direct corrections to such grammar rules wherever possible, except when to do so would perpetuate a miscommunication of them or others.

10. Continued to take an personal inventory of our grammar and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through sentence structure and punctuation to improve our conscious contact with proper grammar, as we learned it, seeking only for knowledge of grammar’s will for us and the proper usage to carry that out.

12. Having had a grammatical awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to grammarholics, and to practice these principles in all our communications.

One day at a time …

Copyright © 2010 Grammar Police a.k.a. GrammarCops

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Dear Felicity,

Please see our post: I is not an object …

You have provided several examples to ask your one question. This makes the answer more complex than the one word responses you received on the Web site.

What you ask is, effectively, which should be used as a subject, I or me? “Betty and I (subject) are going out.” is correct here. “Betty and me are going out.” is incorrect. It is not surprising to us that you have heard incorrect usage on TV. We could likely make a living correcting grammatical misuse on TV.

Now, when you move on to your … “Or join Betty and me.” you have changed the question … this is correct because, as we mentioned in our earlier post, “I is not an object …” In this case, me is correctly used as an object.

BTW, we recommend spell checking the title of your post: “… English/grammer

Thank you for your (unknowing) contribution to our blog.



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I is not an object … def. –pronoun 1. the nominative singular pronoun, used by a speaker in referring to himself or herself.

Me is not a subject … def. –pronoun 1. the objective case of I, used as a direct or indirect object.

In other words, you don’t speak to I, give things to I, or decide between I and another.

Nor would me speak to others, give them things, or make the decision between a and b.

I would speak to him. I would give things to her, and I would decide between x and y.

And, you would speak to me, she would give things to me, and he might decide between you and me.

The bigger question, and frequent misuse, seems to come when combining subjects and/or objects … mostly the latter. What do we mean?

Here goes …

Please call Mike and ___ . (I or me?)

Terry was speaking to him and ___ . (I or me)?

Pat gave the paper to you and ___ . (I or me?)

How can you decide between her and ___? (I or me?)

Hint: take out the other person, enter the correct form, then add the other person back in … like this:

Please call ___ . (I or me?) Therefore … Please call Mike and me.

Terry was speaking to ___ . (I or me?) Therefore … Terry was speaking to him and me.

Pat gave the paper to ___ . (I or me?) Therefore … Pat gave the paper to you and me.

Get it? Got it. Good.

As we were saying … “I is not an object …”

Learn more about reflexives at our post: Self-exploration …

References: grammarpolice.com, dictionary.com, Grammar Girl

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We have been traveling a lot recently. For some reason, that seems to make us accutely aware of the widespread and interesting usage of the conditional tense. This sparked an idea for a new blog post, so here goes …

conditional: Grammar. (of a sentence, clause, mood, or word) involving or expressing a condition, as the first clause in the sentence If it rains, he won’t go.

We like this explanation from LEO Network:

The conditional tense says that an action is reliant on something else. The two most common conditionals are real and unreal, they are sometimes called if-clauses.

The real conditional (often named 1st Conditional or Conditional Type I) describes situations based on fact.

The unreal conditional (often named 2nd Conditional or Conditional Type II) describes unreal or imaginary situations.

There is also what we call the 3rd conditional (often named Conditional Type III), used to express no possibility of something having happened in the past, and the 0 conditional (often called the zero conditional), used to express absolute certainty.

Unless you are studying English to pass an exam or test don’t try to remember the types, just learn the structure so that you know how to express the meaning conveyed by each type.

Note! If the ‘if’ clause comes first, a comma is usually used. If the “if” clause comes second, there is no need for a comma.”

We mentioned “interesting usage.” Take a look at the following examples and have a chuckle:

In a restaurant, have you ever heard your server say something like this?   
  If you need anything, my name is …That’s great. However, what is your name if I don’t need anything?
  If you’re ready to order, I’ll be over there …So, if I’m not ready to order, where will you be?
When conversing with friends or colleagues …  
  If I don’t see you, have a good trip/holiday/weekend …Alright, if you do see me, do you want me to have a bad time?
On an airplane …  
  If you are unfamiliar with the (insert almost any airport name here) airport, there is a diagram in the in-flight magazine …This one is puzzling … we are very familiar with the mentioned airport. Is there still a diagram in the magazine?

Now, IF you have other examples to share, please feel free to comment!

Sources: Dictionary.com, Learn English, American Airlines Flight Attendant announcements.

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When will folks ever learn the “less-on”?? The “less vs. fewer” debate rages on. Case in point:

Citi less is more

Citi is running a promo. It starts out fine, but quickly grates on grammarians with the phrase …

“Less trees being cut down …”

OK, everybody repeat after us …

I will use “less” for amounts that cannot be counted as discrete items, such as water, sunshine, and money.

I will use “fewer” for numbers of items that can be counted as discrete items, such as drops of water, rays of sunshine, dollar bills, and … of course, trees!

Get it? Got it. Good!

See also our previous post: Limit less …

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