About the Grammar Vandal

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Kate McCulley grew up in the Boston area and received her B.A. in English from Fairfield University in 2006. Her driving interest and greatest passion is world travel, and she yearns to travel the world several times over. Her other interests include music, writing and blogging about every adventure that comes her way! Kate feels most at home in Boston, Paris and Florence. She lives in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.

Kate is also a freelance editor who specializes in a variety of professional writing, including business and academic writing as well as college application essays and resumes.  She is known for her skill, reasonable rates and quick turnaround time.

To contact her for a quote, please email her at kate.mcculley [at] gmail.com.

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50 responses to “About the Grammar Vandal

  1. Love the blog – bad grammar is one of my pet peeves, too, along with improper punctuation. If you’re recruiting a grammar vandal army, sign me up! It’s nice to know that schools aren’t failing ALL of today’s young people; that some, like you, are coming out WITH knowledge of proper grammar.

  2. I love you. I bow to your Sharpie. I’ve snagged a few pictures of my own, and I humbly submit them for your approval.

  3. I love your website!! Your blogs are enjoyable to read and at the same time you are actually learning something. I am recommending it to everyone I know!!!
    Looking forward to more…
    Smart is Sexy!!

  4. Because you have proclaimed yourself a geography-phile, I would like to point out and recommend this site:

    http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/

    Cheers!

  5. Dear Kate,

    A reader of my own blog sent me here after she read my most recent post, and I’m duly impressed to find someone who is even more militant about proper spelling and grammar than I am. It brings warm feelings to my heart.

    My own post on the general subject is here:

    And I think, now, I’ll have to add this one to my RSS feed. Thank you for spreading the righteous indignation of grammatical pedantry. You rock.

    Best,
    Simon

  6. Kate – you should also check out TEAL – the Typo Eradication Advancement League.

  7. Hello Kate,

    We are peas in a pod. My personal etymology, so to speak, for this affliction (addiction?) is my father’s insistence on correct diction and grammar at the dinner table. So, as you may imagine, I could no more disown my righteous indignation at the butchering of the English language than I could disown my grandmother — or my father, for that matter. (Think Barack Obama and his momentous speech on race in the United States.)

    Will you marry me? Or, better: Shall we wed?

    David

  8. Oh, by the way, I am an alum of Boston College. It seems our common peapod includes the Boston area and Jesuit education. Way cool.

  9. The instruction in your search bar reads: type and hit enter.

    Hit? We don’t hit. There’s no need to hit.
    Just press.

  10. My high-school senior daughter just got a letter from Harvard encouraging her to apply for admission this fall. The letter has a clumsy grammatical error! I have encouraged her not to apply to the school – clearly they’ve gone downhill :)

    It’s everywhere!

    Love your site –

    ~ Mike

  11. nothingtolose18

    Hi! I recently found your blog, and I love it!

    If you are interested, I have a picture of a really funny spelling error:

    http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j240/xox_SimplePlan_xox/penuts.jpg

    (Sorry, I fail at html).

    Anyway, my friend and I thought it was funny. She took the picture and then sent it to me. She was also the one who wrote the rather obvious statement on the picture. :P but otherwise, the picture is untouched.

    Enjoy!

  12. Peter Cosgrove

    Found your site through the Blue Book which I rcently purchased.
    A very entertaining site.
    I trust you will continue as our language seems to be in a downward spiral at the moment.

  13. TEAL is in the news again…

  14. Dear Kate,
    Have you seen the new Circuit City commercial? This one makes me want to crawl out of my skin! A girl is complaining about prices changing for some doo-dad she wants to buy, and she says, “You can be one price one day and a whole ‘nother price the next.” Agh! I wrote Circuit City to explain to them that there is no such thing as a “nother”; therefore, you cannot have a whole one (or a half of one, for that matter). Do you think they’ll pull the commercial? Ha ha.

    Love your blog!
    Allison

  15. twice in the SF Chronicle this week: “forward” meaning the introduction to a book. Illiterate.

  16. Kate,
    Like David above, I was raised by an English stickler. He taught English in Jr High School and ran the school’s English dept. He now (age 80) runs a language center for a small college.

    I ended up going to Harvard (right in your back yard) and getting an A- in Expository Writing, thank you very much! :-) So, I share your interest in proper grammar and punctuation. I have to confess, I do have serious problems with commas. AND I do love the word “absolutely”, which you just dissed in your latest post. ;-)

    Keep up the good work. I’ll be adding you to my RSS feed!

    P.S. Funny that David above mentions Barack Obama. One of the things my Dad has against Barack is that he makes grammatical errors. Small ones like “we’re looking for a dog for the kids and I”. He’ll do stuff like that. I forgive him but my Dad is turned off by it.

  17. I just saw an ad on TV touting a new “Pan-normous” pizza. I will never order from that company again.

  18. Love it! I’m doing my best to help: http://is.gd/afIh.

  19. I love that your sharpie is red :) Great site!

  20. Josephine@prattlingon

    Kate:

    I love your site! It has already given me hours of enjoyment.

    Found this link and immediately thought of you. How can I not share my pride in beloved South Carolina (note sarcastic undertone) with the Grammar Vandal. :)

    I may have to ponder the sign pictured at this link while eating a Whopper for lunch.

    http://www.fitsnews.com/2008/12/30/the-bk-lounge-is-out-of-meet/

    - Josephine McMullen

  21. Ah, Kate – thank the heavens for your work on behalf of the illiterate everywhere. I’ve added you to my blogroll and will check back regularly!

  22. Such an awesome site!!! While I am a little put off by your shunning of the oxford comma, I guess it is so absent in mainstream media nowadays I can’t be too disappointed. Keep up the good work. I will definitely link to you from my blog, even though it is a completely unrelated poker blog.

  23. What a wonderful site! I am eager to pass along your Web site address to my sister and my daughter.
    A most memorable spelling / grammar error appeared in our local classified ad paper years ago. The ad said, “Chester drawers for sale….”

  24. I was cringing when I read “Fastidious Spelling Snobs Pushed Over the Edge” by Diane Mapes on MSNBC.com. Her lack of the serial comma almost pushed me over the edge!!

    Here’s a quote from “The Chicago Manual of Style” regarding the serial comma: If you don’t allow it at all, you will at times be stuck with situations like the following hypothetical dedication page that our managing editor likes to cite: “With gratitude to my parents, Mother Teresa and the pope.”

    You can’t pick and choose when to follow a grammatical rule and when to ignore it. Long live the serial comma!

  25. Actually, DM and many others, the AP style does not use the serial comma. I use the AP style.

    I’ll be posting more on this later.

  26. Great blog! I constantly find typos and spelling and grammar mistakes in our local newspaper here on Vancouver Island, Canada. There is a Grey Power (insurance) commercial on TV here which is aimed at 50-plus customers. I was under the impression that older people are more sensitive about grammar than younger folks, so I am not sure why anyone would purchase insurance from this company. Their commercial depicts a middle-aged woman driving like a maniac and states, “You don’t drive like her, so why do you pay the same insurance premiums as her?” It should say, “You don’t drive like she [drives], so why do you pay the same insurance premiums as she [pays]?”

    • Hurray! So glad someone else finds this commercial annoying. I even emailed the company and got a diatribe about how they know that the grammar is “technically” incorrect but that it reflects common usage more than the correct wording. I AM over 50 and I DO object to bad grammar (and punctuation and manners…..). I’m sick and tired of seeing this commercial and I wish that the company would scrap it ~ the sooner, the better.

  27. This blog is genius. It is nice to know that I am not alone in my desire to eradicate horrible grammer. Thank you for wielding your Sharpie for the benefit of all humankind.

  28. Can we ban “actually?” I think it hitched a ride here from England and we need to send it back. It adds nothing, means nothing when added to sentences. How often do you read interviews in which the actor says, “Actually, what happened was…” or “Actually, what I meant was…” AAAARRRGHH! The word has become the favored appendage of common parlance for the middle brow as well as the college educated. How annoyed would you be if a third of someone’s sentences began “In point of fact…” It’s the same thing. Please get help. Your statements aren’t any more real or important because you are “actually” saying them!

    Gim

  29. I have a website everyone here should see. It’s kind of graphic, but it just shows ignorance toward grammar by people, and it always makes me laugh how these people type. I wasn’t really interested in what these people actually had to say, but just seeing all their spelling mistakes was gut-busting.

    http://www.holladaddy.com

  30. I have been enjoying your blog at work for the past couple of days! Although I like your humble approach, some of the comments are so arrogant and stink of haughtiness. You don’t need a degree from Harvard to understand correct grammar. I have a music degree from the University of Texas at Austin; does that make less apt to use correct grammar? Not ordering from a pizza joint because of an incorrectly placed hyphen is silly. Not allowing your daughter to apply to an Ivy League school due to an error in a letter is not only ridiculous but sad. I am all for correcting obvious errors that are poisoning the English language but there is a limit. Finding that happy medium, I believe, is crucial. Katie seems to have done that. Now is the time for the faithful commentators on the site to find that balance as well.

    P.S.
    I am sure after my post goes up people will be foaming at the mouth to correct an error I made. Bring it on! : )

  31. “This blog is a record of my campaign to eradicate grammar errors in public in Boston and elsewhere.”

    This is the first phrase I read on your blog. It naturally follows that I think the whole idea of you correcting someone else’s grammar is a bit of a joke! I BEG you to rewrite that sentence. HINT: the problem is with the last six words. I can think of three different ways to write it, all of which would be more clear than the way you have constructed it.

  32. “My chiropractor is wonderful, but he’s up in the suburbs and I no longer have a car, so I had to find a new one. I did a bit of research and found one right around the corner from my office.”

    You found a new car right around the corner from your office. You really crack me up with your good grammar!

  33. This is a headline from our local newspaper:

    Dead Man Entertains At Memorial

    Gee, I’m going to re-watch Dark Shadows!

  34. You are my hero! Keep fighting the good fight!

  35. A new scourge: The wrongful use of the word “vigil”. Every time a group of people gather to light candles in someone’s memory, the media calls it a “vigil.” Sorry, although I sympathize with you and am sorry for your loss, it’s a memorial service, not a vigil. A vigil means you’re watching for something, like white smoke from the Sistine Chapel signifying the election of a new pope. Lighting candles and singing Kumbayah is a memorial.

  36. My writing/grammar may not be perfect, but poor English still drives me crazy. I don’t know if you’re a country music fan, but if so, have you ever paid attention to the Shania Twain song that includes the words, “Whose bed have your boots been under?” Yes, that’s h-a-v-e! Yikes! Some grammar quality assurance would has (oops, I mean have) helped those lyrics a lot! And by the way, I love your site!

  37. Would you consider a guest blogging spot on one of my clients blogs? is a business writing skills blog UK based,

    Many thanks, great blog, superb content and i’ve probably broken all the grammer rules in about 30 words :)

  38. If you ever want to drive yourself completely mad, have a look at any of the comments posted under any of the stories at http://www.infowars.com. I often look until my head hurts, and I am but a jr. apprentice grammer vandal.

    The spelling and grammer are as scary as most of the comments are insane. Good luck!

  39. ‘Grammar errors’ or ‘grammatical errors’?

  40. We have a great sign to email you for the website.. but your gmail account came back undeliverable. Do you have another account?

  41. We have a great picture to send you but your Gmail account came back undeliverable. : (

  42. I stumbled upon your site a while ago, and loved it. I hate poor grammar, spelling, writing, etc., with a passion, and am gratified that I’m not alone in this world!
    Watching our local San Diego NBC affiliate 5 o’clock news weather segment last night, and the weather girl, who was attempting to “tease” us into watching a few seconds longer, mixed her metaphors by saying “I just want to keep you on the seat of your pants!”
    I thought it was hilarious, and she probably doesn’t even know the difference.
    Keep up the great work, Grammar Vandal!

  43. Hi Kate,

    I just stumbled across your website and loved it. I’ve noticed horrible grammatical errors all over the Dallas / Fort Worth area lately. I’d like to take pictures and post them on my Facebook page. Would you have a problem with that? Since you seem to be the originator of the idea, I thought I’d see if I can get your approval first.

    Thoughts?

    Dale Lammers

    Grand Prairie, TX

  44. Dale, there’s lots of bloggers out there doing the same thing, the idea did not originate on this blog. Have at it.

  45. Actually, the Grey Power commercial, which is awful in SO many ways, should say “You don’t drive as she does” or “You don’t drive the way she does.” “Like” is a preposition and an adjective, not a conjunction, despite its common usage as one.

  46. “This blog is a record of my campaign to eradicate grammar errors in public in Boston and elsewhere.”

    “Her other interests include music, writing and blogging about every adventure that comes her way!”

    Hi there Grammar Vandal. For someone who carries “comma stickers” around, you don’t use them very often in your own writing! I find both of the above sentences have several interpretations. This could have been eliminated with some commas, or better yet — with a dash!

  47. My beloved Thrasher’s Fries go’s better with Pepsi.

  48. You shouldn’t sell your kids!

  49. helenchoicevoices

    Wonderful wonderful wonderful. A woman after my own heart! I thought I was the only one! Bliss.

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