Category Archives: About the Grammar Vandal

Big in Germany!

I was delighted to hear from reader Christina, a fan from Germany.  There will be more mentioned about Christina later, but for now, check out this great stuff.

I asked her how she came across my blog, and she told me that there was actually a write-up about me in the October 2007 issue of Spotlight magazine!  Spotlight is a magazine designed for adults looking to improve their language, and it’s published in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.

It’s basically sound bites from the Boston Globe’s feature, but it’s new stuff — and I loved it!  Check it out:

spotlight.jpg

Now blogging from WordPress!

I have now finally, finally, finally made the long-awaited switch to WordPress, at the insistence of many of my friends (particularly Ryan).  I started working on this a few months ago, but it was the horrible cold that I’ve had for the past few days that gave me the gift of time to actually finish it!

What do you think?  Are any of you largely for or against Blogger or WordPress?

Do you like the layout?  The image at the top was designed by my friend (and WordPress lover) Andy over the summer.

At this point in time, what I’m looking forward to most is being able to write posts in advance and arrange for them to post at certain times.  This way, I’ll be able to get posts in every day, even on the days when I’m out of the house from 8:00 AM until midnight or later.

Thoughts?

I lost my camera….

I lost my camera over New Year’s Eve, either at the Simply Spectacular Ball downtown or in the cab afterward. I haven’t gotten a new one yet.

It cost a lot (and I hadn’t even had it for a year!) so I’ve been checking out eBay.

I’m mentioning this because I’ve seen some truly delicious grammatical errors all over the city this past week! Oh, my God!! On the red line, I actually saw an ad for Boston’s “ledgendary” something!

Soon, though….

Gifts for the Grammarian

I’m back! I’m back!

Sorry for the absence. I hope you’re all well.

I got a few grammar-oriented gifts for Christmas — which, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting at all!

First of all, my friend Lisa got me this magnet:

They have a whole line of products with this image, from shirts and tank tops to pins, stickers and bags. Check out the line here.

From my dad, I got the book Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English:

I leafed through the book, and it has a lot of great topics for future posts. Buy it on Amazon here.

Stay tuned….

My apologies….

I’ve been getting a TON of spam in the comments over the past few days. Unfortunately, because of this, I have to word verification to the comment settings on this blog.
I know it’s annoying. I know it sucks. I hope it will only be temporary. We’ll see.
That picture is the first thing that comes up when you type in “spam” on Google Images. Since it’s Halloween weekend, it’s entirely appropriate!
I’m about to head out for the first of three nights of costumed madness. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I always try to do it up well. Wait until you see my costume!

A Grave Error

Back when my blog was in its nascent stage, even before I made it public, I took pictures of errors at Six Flags New England and posted them on here. (There were quite a few, and I guarantee it wasn’t creative advertising.) My friend Holly went to Six Flags on Sunday for Fright Fest, and she took a picture of an interesting gravestone:

Wow. Maybe one of the art directors decided to let his little nephew stencil a few gravestones and accidentally got them into the mix.

I just can’t get over the fact that not only is it wrong, but it alternatively uses both “you’re” and “your” to mean the contraction “you’re.”

I don’t think that the intention was to have it be wrong on purpose — every other gravestone is correct. Besides, if they meant for it to look wrong, wouldn’t they have done more things — mixed up words, spelled words incorrectly, written letters backwards — to make it look even worse?

Scientists have been saying it since the park opened, and I guess it’s true: riding Superman really does kill your brain cells. (For the record, I didn’t go on it for that very reason. I’ll fly through the Swiss Alps while strapped to a parachute, but I won’t go on a brain-damaging roller coaster like that.)

Greetings, NPR fans!

I haven’t done the interview yet, but I’d like for there to be an entry welcoming you.

I hope you enjoy the blog!

If you have any errors to submit, please email me at kate [dot] mcculley [at] gmail [dot] com.

Also, I run a freelance editing and educational consulting business. (Strangely enough, I have yet to blog about it, though I do receive a good amount of freelance work!)

Need anything edited? From business writing and presentations to academic papers and college application essays to advertising and newsletters, I do it all.

My rates are quite low and I guarantee that no other editor will do a better job.

Again, welcome to the blog! I hope you enjoy your visit.

What the hell is this?!?!

When I registered for my domain last June, I was dismayed to learn that www.grammarvandal.com was already taken. I tried out a few different titles for the site but didn’t like any of them, so I bought www.thegrammarvandal.com.

I visited www.grammarvandal.com and saw that there was nothing on the page but the Web address. I emailed the owner to see if anything was being done with the site, and I never heard back.

I visited www.grammarvandal.com while at work today, and it has been developed.

Check it out.

I created a logo a while ago, and theirs looks JUST like mine. That sucks. Well, I guess it’s my own fault that I didn’t get it out there.

I am pleased, however, to notice that when you google “grammar vandal,” their page doesn’t show up until the second page of results. My site is first, followed by my NPR interview, followed by the Boston Globe feature, followed by various blogs and informal press over the Internet.

It does make me feel weird, though — like I never should have chosen to include a “the” in the Web address.

What do you think?

Milestone!

This is post #100 in The Grammar Vandal.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything! Thank you for reading. Thank you for emailing me. Thank you for submitting errors. Thank you for becoming vandals on your own.
Writing this is a lot of fun.

In quarantine….

Sorry for the lapse on posts again. I woke up today with one of the worst sore throats in my life (though thankfully not as bad as the time I had mono) and I took a sick day from work (still working Saturdays) and quarantined myself in my apartment.

In other news, my friend Lisa and I went to Union in the South End and absolutely loved it, from the great food to the exciting atmosphere to our awesome (and gorgeous) waiter, who pointed out everywhere Tom Brady has sat (it’s his favorite restaurant). The only bad part was seeing an ex of mine….the one who foolishly moved to Boston after dating me for only three months….sitting on the other side of the room.

For all you Bostonians, you should try to get there — they’re continuing Restaurant Week through the end of the month, as are Pigalle, Upstairs on the Square and several other restaurants.

To be continued….

I am going out to the bar tonight with my best friend, Beth, who turns 23 today.

Meditate on that.

To the bar.

Do I have a bar in mind? Perhaps I do! Perhaps I have several in mind! I’m heading up to my hometown of Reading, where Beth is living this summer.

I will be back and blogging tomorrow.

Enjoy your evening!

Today is my twenty-third birthday….

It was a very good day.

I’m exhausted from everything — in the best way possible — and stuffed with yummy French and Cambodian food. I would be quite content to fall into a happy food coma for the next few days.

I’ve been waiting for a special day to post “Linguo: The Grammar Robot,” which I hope you will enjoy. Today is certainly a good day for that.

Twenty-three….this is the first birthday that I haven’t wholeheartedly welcomed.

It will be a good year, though.

Many changes are coming to TheGrammarVandal.com. I can’t wait to share them all with you!

I think that’s it for posts for today. Expect good things….

On "Gone Missing"

I just listened to the broadcast for the first time.

WOW, I TALK FAST.

Perhaps it was because I was so nervous.

I wanted to listen to it because I’ve been reading the comments about my opinion on “gone missing,” and I’ve realized that I inadvertently said something that I did not mean.

When the first caller, Vijay, called in, he was talking about how he didn’t like when the expression “gone missing” was used in the news.

At one point, he said, “It shouldn’t be ‘gone missing,’ it should be ‘is missing.’”

When he said that, I thought he meant that in headlines, it should say “is missing” and that the headline should have read, “Seventeen-year-old girl is missing.”

I thought that he meant that headlines that use only the verb’s past participle are incorrect.

“‘Seventeen-year-old girl gone missing,’” I said. “Wouldn’t it be correct to say, ‘seventeen-year-old girl eaten by a bear’? This is in a headline. Um….using just a past participle, like that, that seems to be correct, to me.”

This is, genuinely, what I meant all along. I wasn’t even talking about the expression. I hope this explanation shows how I didn’t mean to say “gone missing” was okay; I meant to show that using the past participle only in headlines was okay, and is standard.

Now, I can truly answer the question: what do I think about “gone missing”? I actually haven’t ever thought about that.

If we’re talking about headlines, then just missing should work: Camp Counselor Missing Since Thursday.

You know what? It sounds a bit awkward, but I’m not entirely sure that it is outright wrong. I need to consult a few more sources.

However, based on personal opinion alone, I know that in journalism, you’re not supposed to use any words that place blame. For example, He is an admitted homosexual is incorrect because the word “admitted” implies blame. “Gone missing” sounds like the person became missing of his or her own accord, and that it is therefore his or her fault.

Therefore, I think that I would lean closer to saying no to “gone missing.”

And again, sorry about the fast talking, and the Valley Girl thing. I was very nervous. And I always forget that I can’t stand the sound of my own voice!

Also, to clear one other thing up: I do have a job, a real job, a job that requires a college degree, a job that requires 40 hours of work each week. I’ve worked there for almost a year and you can read all about it in Kate’s Adventures under the category “Working Girl.” (I choose not to identify my employer by name in my blogs.)

I said what I said on the broadcast because I know that there are so many better opportunities out there.

On "Gone Missing"

I just listened to the broadcast for the first time.

WOW, I TALK FAST.

Perhaps it was because I was so nervous.

I wanted to listen to it because I’ve been reading the comments about my opinion on “gone missing,” and I’ve realized that I inadvertently said something that I did not mean.

When the first caller, Vijay, called in, he was talking about how he didn’t like when the expression “gone missing” was used in the news.

At one point, he said, “It shouldn’t be ‘gone missing,’ it should be ‘is missing.’”

When he said that, I thought he meant that in headlines, it should say “is missing” and that the headline should have read, “Seventeen-year-old girl is missing.”

I thought that he meant that headlines that use only the verb’s past participle are incorrect.

“‘Seventeen-year-old girl gone missing,’” I said. “Wouldn’t it be correct to say, ‘seventeen-year-old girl eaten by a bear’? This is in a headline. Um….using just a past participle, like that, that seems to be correct, to me.”

This is, genuinely, what I meant all along. I wasn’t even talking about the expression. I hope this explanation shows how I didn’t mean to say “gone missing” was okay; I meant to show that using the past participle only in headlines was okay, and is standard.

Now, I can truly answer the question: what do I think about “gone missing”? I actually haven’t ever thought about that.

If we’re talking about headlines, then just missing should work: Camp Counselor Missing Since Thursday.

You know what? It sounds a bit awkward, but I’m not entirely sure that it is outright wrong. I need to consult a few more sources.

However, based on personal opinion alone, I know that in journalism, you’re not supposed to use any words that place blame. For example, He is an admitted homosexual is incorrect because the word “admitted” implies blame. “Gone missing” sounds like the person became missing of his or her own accord, and that it is therefore his or her fault.

Therefore, I think that I would lean closer to saying no to “gone missing.”

And again, sorry about the fast talking, and the Valley Girl thing. I was very nervous. And I always forget that I can’t stand the sound of my own voice!

Also, to clear one other thing up: I do have a job, a real job, a job that requires a college degree, a job that requires 40 hours of work each week. I’ve worked there for almost a year and you can read all about it in Kate’s Adventures under the category “Working Girl.” (I choose not to identify my employer by name in my blogs.)

I said what I said on the broadcast because I know that there are so many better opportunities out there.

So, like, I totally speak like a Valley Girl, you know?

Wow.

First of all, thank you for taking the time to read, comment and/or email! I appreciate it very much.

Secondly….

I had no idea that I apparently say “like” and “you know” so often!

I don’t talk like that, usually….at least, I don’t THINK I do….I’m going to have to speak to one of my more honest friends about that and get his or her opinion.

I’m hoping it was only because I was so nervous, being in the room with the headphones and the microphone and everything being live! That was truly nerve-wracking! I was trembling the whole time.

I have much more to say about the interview, but I’ll post later. I found a few errors in the Theatre District on my way home, and I’ll be posting the pictures in a bit.

Again, thank you for the emails and comments — and thank you for pointing out how annoying I really sound live! :-)