Well, the Stuff White People Like blog has added its 99th entry: grammar.
It turns out that, in addition to study abroad, Barack Obama, coffee, bicycles, Arrested Development, multilingual children, organic food and David Sedaris, white people like grammar.
Considering that this blog could pretty much be called Stuff Kate Likes, I absolutely knew that this was coming.
When asking someone about their biggest annoyances in life, you might expect responses like “hunger,” “being poor,” or “getting shot.” If you ask a white person, the most common response will likely be “people who use ‘their’ when they mean ‘there.’ Maybe comma splices, I’m not sure but it’s definitely one of the two.”
And what of the people who actually correct grammar?
Another important thing to know is that when white people read magazines and books they are always looking for grammar and spelling mistakes. In fact, one of the greatest joys a white person can experience is to catch a grammar mistake in a major publication. Finding one allows a white person to believe that they are better than the writer and the publication since they would have caught the mistake. The more respected the publication, the greater the thrill. If a white person were to catch a mistake in The New Yorker, it would be a sufficient reason for a large party.
I’m not going to lie — if I found a mistake in The New Yorker, I would experience a huge burst of emotion. Not of pride, however — of anger.
That is DEFINITELY taking it too far.
I was thrilled to receive a beautiful example of grammar vandalism from reader Jean Marie.
Check this out:
Location: College Station, Texas
I would say to insert your Texas stereotype here, but even I know that’s not the whole truth. I’ve been to Texas (and had an absolutely AWESOME time there last year!) and got to see a part of the state that is completely different from what most people believe Texas to be.
Still, though, these signs could say that everything is bigger in Texas — in this case, the signs are more erroneous, the errors more egregious.
Jean Marie didn’t let that stand in her way.
Keep fighting the good fight!
Thanks, Jean Marie.
Location: McIntyre & Moore Booksellers, Davis Square, Somerville, Massachusetts
Check that out!
I didn’t do that. That was already there.
That was a laminated piece of paper — so that was some heavy-duty grammar vandalism, indeed!
My landlords, Rona and Dennis, are two of my blog’s biggest fans. Knowing that the Grammar Vandal is living right upstairs, they prepared their signs in advance.
There is now a very creepy-looking scarecrow lounging in a chair on our porch. Every time I walk up the stairs, I freak out a little bit, then realize that it’s not an actual person, and I walk on.
Check out his sign:
Location: Like Kate Would List Her Actual Address On Her Blog And Invite Stalkers To Her Home!, Somerville, MA
LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT.
Never, ever use quotes where they don’t belong! Though, to be honest, I think I was a “trick or treater” myself during high school. I dressed up and went trolling for candy up until I was 17 years old. That’s too old — so if trick or treaters must be young, that would be a good reason to add the quotes.
Now, trick or treaters….hyphenated or not? I’m thinking that hyphens should be used.
Either way, excellent work on the sign.
Thanks, Rona and Dennis!
I went up to Reading, my hometown, to see my Mom tonight, and we stopped at Linens-N-Things and Staples. I (finally) had a pen in my purse, so I corrected a few grammatical errors:
Location: Linens-N-Things, Reading, MA
These everyday signs were all over the store. It hurts. It really hurts.
Location: Staples, Reading, MA
You could make an argument for this one, saying that the sign was telling you to picture perfect holidays. I don’t think that was the intention of the Staples marketing team — I think they wanted you to have picture-perfect holidays.
Come on! You are both obviously big chains — get an editor who didn’t go to gym teachers’ college!
At work on Saturday, there was a sign in serious need of some grammar vandalism. I grabbed the nearest marker and made the adjustment.
Unfortunately, I am not allowed to take pictures in my office. Normally, I wouldn’t let something like that stop me, but my manager’s manager’s manager told me that she reads this blog, so I guess I shouldn’t take any chances. :-)
Here is a simulation of the photo that would have been:
Thank you, Microsoft Paint.
There’s another vandal out there!
Location: Rest Stop, Pennsylvania Turnpike
Vandal, if you’re out there, I love you, love you, love you very much.
And I hate when people mix up ensure and insure!
From the AP:
Use ensure to mean guarantee: Steps were taken to ensure accuracy.
Use insure for references to insurance: The policy insures his life.
It’s starting to happen.
Let’s take over!