Category Archives: Journalism

Slightly Inappropriate and Quite Amusing

I received this fantastic error from my co-worker Ben. Check it out:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bruce Springsteen will put out “Magic,” his first album with the E Street Band in five years, on October 2, publicists said on Thursday.

The 11-track release on Columbia Records was produced and mixed by Brendan O’Brien, who also produced the last record Springsteen made with his backup group, 2002’s “The Rising,” Shore Fire Media said in a statement.

“The Rising,” an album inspired the September 11 attacks, won a Grammy for Best Rock Album.


That’s the first time in quite a long time that I actually laughed out loud at something I read. I told Ben so, and he told me, “I thought you, in particular, would enjoy it.” Oh, did I ever.

This actually reminds me of this amazing and sublime page. If bad music could drive someone to terrorism, I think it would happen to this guy….

In the Globe again!

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was mentioned in the Boston Sunday Globe again this week!

It’s in the Ideas section, on the back cover. It’s not online, since it’s just a short blurb.

There is a picture of the “Cambrige Street” sign that I posted a few days ago. Here it is:

Where the Streets Have the Wrong Name

As if navigating our streets weren’t tricky enough, sometimes they’re spelled funny. A local blogger called The Grammar Vandal wants to know what the deal is with “Cambrige” street. Tell me about it. I grew up near a street in Jamaica Plain named after Frederick Law Olmsted. It is called Olmstead.

Sweet.

However….is funny the word we want to see there? It’s too bad funnily doesn’t exist….

Everybody has AIDES

Please don’t take offense at the title. My sister just saw Team America for the first time and has been singing the songs. Everybody Has AIDS is a RENT-inspired show tune that opens the film.

My dad sells hearing aids up in Saugus (Know someone who can’t hear? He’ll hook you up!), and he was recently featured in the Lynn Daily Item. I loved the piece because one line reads, “McCulley scoffs at the idea.” “You scoff!” my sister and I yell at him.

It’s been up in our house for a while, but I hadn’t noticed the egregious grammatical error in the headline until a few days ago:


It’s hearing aids, not hearing aides.
Yikes.
It just amazes me at how many errors there are in headlines. Aren’t those the most vital parts not to mess up? And aren’t there supposed to be at least two editors who check it over?
Weird.
I apologize for the lackluster entries lately (though I am loving the discussion on the prom post). My inflamed ribs are quite painful — I haven’t been able to take a genuine deep breath since last week — and the only way to escape the pain is to stand, walk or lie down — anything but sit. Working all day is bad enough, so I’m trying to minimize my time seated at the computer. I’m getting better, though.
I also have two pieces of news.
First of all, I made the biggest purchase of my life — a new computer. It’s a laptop, and it’s actually my first laptop! I’m a writer and it’s my first laptop! That’s crazy….
Secondly, I just finished one of my first freelance editing projects. I edited the quarterly newsletter for a nonprofit government organization in Washington, D.C. It’s fantastic.

Letter to the Editor….

Grammar stickler Kate McCulley of Somerville points out a violation on a Newbury Street sign this month. (DINA RUDICK/GLOBE STAFF)

There’s a new letter to the editor in the Globe about my grammar vandalism. It didn’t appear in the print edition, only the online edition. Here it is:

July 29, 2007

When I read the article about “Grammar Vandal” Kate McCulley (“Stop sign travesties!,” July 15, City Weekly), I was mildly annoyed, but decided not to write because I was sure plenty of letters would pour in about the elitist attitude of both the author and subject of the article.

Sadly, the only letters I saw published a week later had to do with the fact that the Grammar Vandal was not as much of a grammar expert as we had been led to believe.

While I thought it was amusing that she should get a taste of her own medicine, I was surprised that the Globe had not received any letters taking her to task for the way she goes about her hobby.

Language is at its best when it is used to express complex ideas and deeply felt emotions. We can be thankful that words exist when by exchanging them, we understand other people better, or when conversations help guide us through life with a deeper connection to our surroundings than we otherwise could have had.

People are complicated; the rules of grammar can only dictate what is acceptable to the pedantic, but never what is emotionally correct to the speaker.

And what good is language if a speaker cannot bend and twist it whichever way he or she wants? The fact that my wife understands when I ask her to “close the light” is not an indication that “we’ve resigned ourselves” to errors, but that the English we speak has been influenced by the languages of our childhoods.

Immigrants and children of immigrants will probably never speak Ms. McCulley’s English; in fact, neither will most Americans.

The rules of language change depending on who is talking. If a business wants to call itself the Avante Gard Medical Spa, what gives Ms. McCulley the authority to say it is wrong?

If the owners of Avante Gard stated in the newspaper that “Kate” is the incorrect spelling of her name, I’m sure she would be irritated, and she would have every right to be.

The rules of grammar — just like the rules of almost everything in our society — were mostly written by the cultural elite. So now those rules are being challenged every day by people of all races and ages, and Ms. McCulley and the Globe try their best to persuade us to click our tongues about it.

GILES LI
Brookline

Hmmm.

You know, I’d like to clear something up about the Avante Gard sign. Originally, I hadn’t picked that out. I don’t go after proper names, even if they’re spelled incorrectly. That sign wasn’t in the original list I made when I scouted Newbury Street for errors.

I caved in to peer pressure.

The people with whom I was walking noticed the sign and started taking pictures of it. They then asked me if that was the correct spelling, and if it should have been spelled Avant-Garde.

I said that it should have been. To me, it seems like it would be more likely that someone would spell the words incorrectly by accident than somebody would spell it wrong for aesthetic purposes.

Honestly, I regret that that particular example was used in the story. It’s really a weak example compared to the dozens of the errors that I found on Newbury Street alone. And I find it no surprise that a disgruntled reader would use that one weak example and ignore the rest of the rest of the work in the magazine.

Now, Giles….

I think that you missed the point of the story, and the point of this blog.

Let me quote the story:

What really got McCulley’s goat wasn’t an error here or there by a single person but mistakes made by businesses. Shouldn’t they have editors to check ads and signs?

Giles, my admonitions are directed towards businesses and other organizations that release professional writing to the public. These are people who can clearly afford to hire an editor to give their ads a quick once-over. They choose not to do this.

I only vandalize grammar errors when they are made by one of these organizations.

As for immigrants, I was asked by the reporter if there were places where I would allow grammar errors to remain. This part did not make it into the final copy of the feature. I told her that I’m not going to correct anything in an immigrant community or in an immigrant’s business. I have so much respect for immigrants, coming to a brand new country, starting their lives over, learning a new language. If an immigrant does all this and then actually starts his or her own business, I’m not going to jump on him or her for making grammatical errors!

As for the other works that I post on here, like the “F— the Systsem” tattoo, these are cases of terrible, hopeless grammar. I’m not going to be nitpicky about things that people say aloud unless they’re particularly egregious.

Look at me — one of my favorite words is “cruisazy,” which I take to mean “crazy like Tom Cruise,” and you won’t find that anywhere in the dictionary. In fact, I think it was Perez Hilton who coined that phrase.

Giles, I don’t like the fact that we continue to see such blatant errors in professional writing. Do you seriously have no problem with a sign reading “WE HAVE WOMANS SHOES”? Is that just the evolution of language? Is that okay? If it is, why even check spelling at all?

Honestly, you might have gotten more out of this if you had read through the entire article before commenting on one small aspect of what I do on this blog.

In other news, I just found out that my ribs are inflamed. I’ve been put on steroids. Perhaps the rage is kicking in.

Taliban: Plural

Earlier today, I came across the following headline:

Taliban denies release of 8 S Korean hostages

It didn’t sound right to me. It hit me all at once — isn’t Taliban supposed to be the plural form?

I wasn’t sure, so I looked it up in the AP Stylebook. (Say what you want about the AP — it’s the preferred style for journalism.)

Taliban: Extreme Islamic Movement that ruled Afghanistan until driven out by U.S.-led coalition after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Arabic for religious students, it takes a plural verb. The singular is Talib.

The sentence should read, Taliban deny release of S Korean hostages.

It’s funny, but I swore I saw a headline on CNN.com today that had used Taliban in the singular sense. I just checked it again, and there was nothing.

As of 2007, the Taliban are still a dangerous force in Afghanistan, but I am hopeful that the organization will not last.

Taliban: Plural

Earlier today, I came across the following headline:

Taliban denies release of 8 S Korean hostages

It didn’t sound right to me. It hit me all at once — isn’t Taliban supposed to be the plural form?

I wasn’t sure, so I looked it up in the AP Stylebook. (Say what you want about the AP — it’s the preferred style for journalism.)

Taliban: Extreme Islamic Movement that ruled Afghanistan until driven out by U.S.-led coalition after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Arabic for religious students, it takes a plural verb. The singular is Talib.

The sentence should read, Taliban deny release of S Korean hostages.

It’s funny, but I swore I saw a headline on CNN.com today that had used Taliban in the singular sense. I just checked it again, and there was nothing.

As of 2007, the Taliban are still a dangerous force in Afghanistan, but I am hopeful that the organization will not last.

Metro, NO!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nobody reads Metro for the intellectual stimulation!

I can think of only three reasons for reading it:

–Commutes are long and/or boring
–It’s free
–Someone physically puts it into your hands each morning. (I love the guy at the Holland Street entrance of the Davis station — he looks like Santa Claus, albeit with tons of tattoos! He’s a bit gruff, but very sweet.)

My commute is about 20-25 minutes on the red line, so I usually read it on my way in (all but the Sports section). I usually find 1-3 errors per day.

This latest error, however, is beyond egregious. It’s in the front page’s biggest headline!

Take a look at the PDF of the front page here. I don’t know yet how to take a picture of my screen (on the computer), so I quite literally took a picture of my screen (with my camera). Archaic, I know.

Check it out:



So, there’s apparently a Socialist out there named Karl Marz.

Yikes.

Thanks, Andy, for pointing this out. Check out his blog.

Metro, NO!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nobody reads Metro for the intellectual stimulation!

I can think of only three reasons for reading it:

–Commutes are long and/or boring
–It’s free
–Someone physically puts it into your hands each morning. (I love the guy at the Holland Street entrance of the Davis station — he looks like Santa Claus, albeit with tons of tattoos! He’s a bit gruff, but very sweet.)

My commute is about 20-25 minutes on the red line, so I usually read it on my way in (all but the Sports section). I usually find 1-3 errors per day.

This latest error, however, is beyond egregious. It’s in the front page’s biggest headline!

Take a look at the PDF of the front page here. I don’t know yet how to take a picture of my screen (on the computer), so I quite literally took a picture of my screen (with my camera). Archaic, I know.

Check it out:



So, there’s apparently a Socialist out there named Karl Marz.

Yikes.

Thanks, Andy, for pointing this out. Check out his blog.

Dog fighting? Dog-fighting? Dogfighting?

If you’ve been following the news the past few days, you’ve probably heard about Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick’s ties to a dogfighting ring. Or is it a dog-fighting ring? Or a dog fighting ring?

The first headline that I read regarding this story on cnn.com read as follows: “NFL star indicted over dog fighting.”

That has to be wrong, I thought. It should either be dogfighting or dog-fighting.

But which one?

If we’re talking about roosters, cockfighting is the correct term, not cock-fighting, and certainly not cock fighting.

For that reason alone, it would seem that dogfighting would be the correct term.

However, one could argue that cockfighting is a much more common term, as it’s the most common form of underground animal fighting. Everyone knows what cockfighting is — it creates an image in your mind of a tiny arena in a basement filled with smoke where men scream, swear and throw money down as the animals attack each other. I think it’s debatable that for that reason, the word should be dog-fighting.

After all, what would you say if it were a different animal?

The detectives uncovered a piranhafighting ring behind the market.

It wasn’t just a church basement: it was home to a criminal koalafighting ring.

Because these words are seldom put together, it makes sense to hyphenate them: piranha-fighting, koala-fighting.

It’s up to us to decide whether it should be dog-fighting or dogfighting.

By now, it seems that cnn.com has decided to go with dogfighting. Following that story, two more headlines have appeared: “Court: Vick to answer to dogfighting charges July 26″ and “Dogfighting a booming business, experts say.”

I’m going to side with CNN on this one, and say that dogfighting is the correct term. Because of this, it’s clear that the first headline, which is still on the site, is incongruent with the others and needs to be changed.

So, which term do YOU think is correct?

Dog fighting? Dog-fighting? Dogfighting?

If you’ve been following the news the past few days, you’ve probably heard about Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick’s ties to a dogfighting ring. Or is it a dog-fighting ring? Or a dog fighting ring?

The first headline that I read regarding this story on cnn.com read as follows: “NFL star indicted over dog fighting.”

That has to be wrong, I thought. It should either be dogfighting or dog-fighting.

But which one?

If we’re talking about roosters, cockfighting is the correct term, not cock-fighting, and certainly not cock fighting.

For that reason alone, it would seem that dogfighting would be the correct term.

However, one could argue that cockfighting is a much more common term, as it’s the most common form of underground animal fighting. Everyone knows what cockfighting is — it creates an image in your mind of a tiny arena in a basement filled with smoke where men scream, swear and throw money down as the animals attack each other. I think it’s debatable that for that reason, the word should be dog-fighting.

After all, what would you say if it were a different animal?

The detectives uncovered a piranhafighting ring behind the market.

It wasn’t just a church basement: it was home to a criminal koalafighting ring.

Because these words are seldom put together, it makes sense to hyphenate them: piranha-fighting, koala-fighting.

It’s up to us to decide whether it should be dog-fighting or dogfighting.

By now, it seems that cnn.com has decided to go with dogfighting. Following that story, two more headlines have appeared: “Court: Vick to answer to dogfighting charges July 26″ and “Dogfighting a booming business, experts say.”

I’m going to side with CNN on this one, and say that dogfighting is the correct term. Because of this, it’s clear that the first headline, which is still on the site, is incongruent with the others and needs to be changed.

So, which term do YOU think is correct?

Headed for NPR!

When I was sitting on the beach at White Lake today, I received an urgent phone call from my mother. She had just received a call from NPR. They were trying to track me down, and they found her! (We’re still not quite sure how.)

NPR wanted me to be a guest on “Talk of the Nation” this very afternoon.

I will never be able to adequately express the shock I felt at that moment.

I called the station to speak with the editor who had called, and she told me that she loved the piece in the Globe. She then asked me if I would rather go on the show next Monday, since it would fit both our schedules better. I agreed in an instant.

I cannot believe this!

More details to come.

For now, here are the pictures of the story in the City Weekly section of the Boston Sunday Globe:

80% of the page! Incredible!


You can see more of my adhesive commas in action in the top right corner. (They kind of look like ads, but they’re actually pictures that were taken on Newbury Street.)

Headed for NPR!

When I was sitting on the beach at White Lake today, I received an urgent phone call from my mother. She had just received a call from NPR. They were trying to track me down, and they found her! (We’re still not quite sure how.)

NPR wanted me to be a guest on “Talk of the Nation” this very afternoon.

I will never be able to adequately express the shock I felt at that moment.

I called the station to speak with the editor who had called, and she told me that she loved the piece in the Globe. She then asked me if I would rather go on the show next Monday, since it would fit both our schedules better. I agreed in an instant.

I cannot believe this!

More details to come.

For now, here are the pictures of the story in the City Weekly section of the Boston Sunday Globe:

80% of the page! Incredible!


You can see more of my adhesive commas in action in the top right corner. (They kind of look like ads, but they’re actually pictures that were taken on Newbury Street.)

A World of NO

I’m sorry for the oversaturation with People.com, but my friend Marie sent this to me, and it is SO bad that I have to repost it with corrections.

I never really mentioned it on here, but I’ve decided to avoid regular blogs. Why? I’m not quite sure. I don’t think that ANYONE deserves a pass, but the fact is….I like a lot of blogs with terrible grammar. I admire bloggers that work tirelessly to make us laugh, and in terms of inspiration, I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me.

Off The Rack, however, is not one of my favorites. This is People Magazine’s official fashion blog. That puts it into the same category as journalism, in my book. Of all people, they should know best.

This is one of the worst examples I have EVER seen. Here we go:

Dita Von Teese’s Beauty Secrets

Dita von Teese is the ultimate in pin up girl beauty: flawless, milky white skin, perfectly tonged hair — and have you seen that body?! When PEOPLE caught up with her at a MAC Viva Glam event in London this week, we wanted to know all of her beauty secrets. “I do yoga and pilates” she revealed as her tiny frame wafted past in a silver mermaid-esque Dior gown. “I also do my best to get my beauty sleep which means knowing when the party is over!” And, how does she maintain that perfectly porcelain skin? “Sunscreen is very important but there isn’t one miracle cream, we’re all different.” After performing in a pink Swarovski crystal cow girl outfit (which off course was quickly removed) complete with crystal covered Christian Louboutin boots to perform her risqué burlesque style strip tease, she switched back her glamorous gown and went clubbing with her girlfriends, dutifully leaving at 1.30am, with a sneaky yawn on the way out. At least she practices what she preaches.

Sentence 1: Dita von Teese is the ultimate in pin up girl beauty: flawless, milky white skin, perfectly tonged hair — and have you seen that body?!

1) Pin up is incorrect — pinup is the term describing bombshell women of the 1940s whose posters provided tantalization for soldiers during World War II.

2) Flawless, milky white skin doesn’t work. The most correct version would be “flawless, milk-white skin” or “flawless, milky, white skin.” “Milky white” has become a bit of a colloquialism, so an argument could be made for that.

Sentence 2: When PEOPLE caught up with her at a MAC Viva Glam event in London this week, we wanted to know all of her beauty secrets.

No egregious errors. I’m not a fan of the writer’s style, though.

Sentence 3: “I do yoga and pilates” she revealed as her tiny frame wafted past in a silver mermaid-esque Dior gown.

3) You’re missing a comma. It should read, “I do yoga and pilates,” she revealed.

4) Tiny frame wafted past? Does a frame waft? I don’t think so. This writer got cruisazy with the thesaurus. (Don’t knock cruisazy. It’s one of my favorite words — you should see katesadventures.com! I’ve actually got a few of my friends saying it now.)

A better option would be to say, “She glided past, her tiny frame wrapped in a silver mermaid-esque Dior gown.” (Gorgeous gown. You should see the pictures. I love Dita’s fashion sense.)

Sentence 4: “I also do my best to get my beauty sleep which means knowing when the party is over!”

5) Put a comma between sleep and which. Personally, I would have thrown in, “she said with a laugh,” or something along those lines, even if she hadn’t been laughing, because the quote sounds a bit corny.

Sentence 5: And, how does she maintain that perfectly porcelain skin?

6) That comma is repugnant. It’s not enough to have “and” as its own entity at the beginning of a sentence. Although starting a sentence with the word “and” or “but” is frowned upon in literary circles, many writers (and I include myself in this category) do so, but do so with good style. This writer does not have good style — he or she has no idea what he or she is doing.

7) Porcelain is a noun, not an adjective, even though many claim it as an adjective when describing skin. Perfect porcelain would be a better way of putting it.

Sentence 6: “Sunscreen is very important but there isn’t one miracle cream, we’re all different.”

8) A comma is necessary between important and but. It may seem awkward at first, at least until you finish correcting the sentence, but trust me — this is necessary.

9) Lord, give me a semicolon! Just because people speak in incorrect grammar, it does not give you the license to write dialogue with incorrect grammar. Between cream and we’re, we should either have a semicolon or a period.

Sentence 7: After performing in a pink Swarovski crystal cow girl outfit (which off course was quickly removed) complete with crystal covered Christian Louboutin boots to perform her risqué burlesque style strip tease, she switched back her glamorous gown and went clubbing with her girlfriends, dutifully leaving at 1.30am, with a sneaky yawn on the way out.

10) Cow girl is incorrect. Cowgirl is the correct term.

11) Off course?! OFF COURSE?! Good grief, writer! You should be searching for a new job after word about this gets out, OF COURSE!

12) A comma is needed after the first parentheesis.

13) Crystal covered is incorrect. The boots are covered with crystals and are therefore crystal-covered.

14) I would have simply said burlesque, because burlesque style is incorrect. Another valid alternative would be burlesque-style.

15) Switched back her glamorous gown? That makes no sense. You don’t “switch back” a gown. You may switch back INTO a gown. Adding that word would have made a major improvement.

16) Strip tease is incorrect; striptease is what this grammar vandal is looking for.

17) 1.30am is crude at best. While I personally prefer to write 1:30 AM, most newspapers accept 1:30 a.m. as the correct form of writing time.

18) Leaving with a sneaky yawn, again, makes no sense. A sneaky yawn is not something with which you leave. And what kinds of yawns are sneaky? I’d say that she left, yawning LAZILY on her way out.

Sentence 8: At least she practices what she preaches.

Correct. And I have still not recovered from the last sentence.

18 errors in eight sentences, all of them confined to six sentences. Can you believe it?

People, I don’t know if you were being charitable by humoring a young writer or were being delusional in allowing this illiterate fool to write content for your website.

You should hire ME to write for you.

This is what you could have had:

Dita von Teese is the ultimate in pinup beauty: flawless skin, perfectly coiffed hair…and have you seen that body?! When PEOPLE caught up with her at a MAC Viva Glam event in London this week, we wanted to know all of her beauty secrets.

“I do yoga and pilates,” she revealed as she glided past, her tiny frame wrapped in a silver mermaid-esque Dior gown. “I also do my best to get my beauty sleep, which means knowing when the party is over!” she added with a laugh.

And how does she maintain that perfect porcelain skin?

“Sunscreen is very important, but there isn’t one miracle cream. We’re all different.”

After performing in a pink Swarovski crystal cowgirl outfit (which, of course, was quickly removed) — complete with crystal-encrusted Christian Louboutin boots — to perform her risqué burlesque striptease, she switched back into her glamorous gown and went clubbing with her girlfriends, dutifully leaving at 1:30 AM, yawning on the way out. At least she practices what she preaches.

I’m serious, People. Hire me. Email me your stuff. I’ll copyedit. You must be aware of how badly you’ve been doing lately in terms of errors. I could make a big difference in your work.

A World of NO

I’m sorry for the oversaturation with People.com, but my friend Marie sent this to me, and it is SO bad that I have to repost it with corrections.

I never really mentioned it on here, but I’ve decided to avoid regular blogs. Why? I’m not quite sure. I don’t think that ANYONE deserves a pass, but the fact is….I like a lot of blogs with terrible grammar. I admire bloggers that work tirelessly to make us laugh, and in terms of inspiration, I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me.

Off The Rack, however, is not one of my favorites. This is People Magazine’s official fashion blog. That puts it into the same category as journalism, in my book. Of all people, they should know best.

This is one of the worst examples I have EVER seen. Here we go:

Dita Von Teese’s Beauty Secrets

Dita von Teese is the ultimate in pin up girl beauty: flawless, milky white skin, perfectly tonged hair — and have you seen that body?! When PEOPLE caught up with her at a MAC Viva Glam event in London this week, we wanted to know all of her beauty secrets. “I do yoga and pilates” she revealed as her tiny frame wafted past in a silver mermaid-esque Dior gown. “I also do my best to get my beauty sleep which means knowing when the party is over!” And, how does she maintain that perfectly porcelain skin? “Sunscreen is very important but there isn’t one miracle cream, we’re all different.” After performing in a pink Swarovski crystal cow girl outfit (which off course was quickly removed) complete with crystal covered Christian Louboutin boots to perform her risqué burlesque style strip tease, she switched back her glamorous gown and went clubbing with her girlfriends, dutifully leaving at 1.30am, with a sneaky yawn on the way out. At least she practices what she preaches.

Sentence 1: Dita von Teese is the ultimate in pin up girl beauty: flawless, milky white skin, perfectly tonged hair — and have you seen that body?!

1) Pin up is incorrect — pinup is the term describing bombshell women of the 1940s whose posters provided tantalization for soldiers during World War II.

2) Flawless, milky white skin doesn’t work. The most correct version would be “flawless, milk-white skin” or “flawless, milky, white skin.” “Milky white” has become a bit of a colloquialism, so an argument could be made for that.

Sentence 2: When PEOPLE caught up with her at a MAC Viva Glam event in London this week, we wanted to know all of her beauty secrets.

No egregious errors. I’m not a fan of the writer’s style, though.

Sentence 3: “I do yoga and pilates” she revealed as her tiny frame wafted past in a silver mermaid-esque Dior gown.

3) You’re missing a comma. It should read, “I do yoga and pilates,” she revealed.

4) Tiny frame wafted past? Does a frame waft? I don’t think so. This writer got cruisazy with the thesaurus. (Don’t knock cruisazy. It’s one of my favorite words — you should see katesadventures.com! I’ve actually got a few of my friends saying it now.)

A better option would be to say, “She glided past, her tiny frame wrapped in a silver mermaid-esque Dior gown.” (Gorgeous gown. You should see the pictures. I love Dita’s fashion sense.)

Sentence 4: “I also do my best to get my beauty sleep which means knowing when the party is over!”

5) Put a comma between sleep and which. Personally, I would have thrown in, “she said with a laugh,” or something along those lines, even if she hadn’t been laughing, because the quote sounds a bit corny.

Sentence 5: And, how does she maintain that perfectly porcelain skin?

6) That comma is repugnant. It’s not enough to have “and” as its own entity at the beginning of a sentence. Although starting a sentence with the word “and” or “but” is frowned upon in literary circles, many writers (and I include myself in this category) do so, but do so with good style. This writer does not have good style — he or she has no idea what he or she is doing.

7) Porcelain is a noun, not an adjective, even though many claim it as an adjective when describing skin. Perfect porcelain would be a better way of putting it.

Sentence 6: “Sunscreen is very important but there isn’t one miracle cream, we’re all different.”

8) A comma is necessary between important and but. It may seem awkward at first, at least until you finish correcting the sentence, but trust me — this is necessary.

9) Lord, give me a semicolon! Just because people speak in incorrect grammar, it does not give you the license to write dialogue with incorrect grammar. Between cream and we’re, we should either have a semicolon or a period.

Sentence 7: After performing in a pink Swarovski crystal cow girl outfit (which off course was quickly removed) complete with crystal covered Christian Louboutin boots to perform her risqué burlesque style strip tease, she switched back her glamorous gown and went clubbing with her girlfriends, dutifully leaving at 1.30am, with a sneaky yawn on the way out.

10) Cow girl is incorrect. Cowgirl is the correct term.

11) Off course?! OFF COURSE?! Good grief, writer! You should be searching for a new job after word about this gets out, OF COURSE!

12) A comma is needed after the first parentheesis.

13) Crystal covered is incorrect. The boots are covered with crystals and are therefore crystal-covered.

14) I would have simply said burlesque, because burlesque style is incorrect. Another valid alternative would be burlesque-style.

15) Switched back her glamorous gown? That makes no sense. You don’t “switch back” a gown. You may switch back INTO a gown. Adding that word would have made a major improvement.

16) Strip tease is incorrect; striptease is what this grammar vandal is looking for.

17) 1.30am is crude at best. While I personally prefer to write 1:30 AM, most newspapers accept 1:30 a.m. as the correct form of writing time.

18) Leaving with a sneaky yawn, again, makes no sense. A sneaky yawn is not something with which you leave. And what kinds of yawns are sneaky? I’d say that she left, yawning LAZILY on her way out.

Sentence 8: At least she practices what she preaches.

Correct. And I have still not recovered from the last sentence.

18 errors in eight sentences, all of them confined to six sentences. Can you believe it?

People, I don’t know if you were being charitable by humoring a young writer or were being delusional in allowing this illiterate fool to write content for your website.

You should hire ME to write for you.

This is what you could have had:

Dita von Teese is the ultimate in pinup beauty: flawless skin, perfectly coiffed hair…and have you seen that body?! When PEOPLE caught up with her at a MAC Viva Glam event in London this week, we wanted to know all of her beauty secrets.

“I do yoga and pilates,” she revealed as she glided past, her tiny frame wrapped in a silver mermaid-esque Dior gown. “I also do my best to get my beauty sleep, which means knowing when the party is over!” she added with a laugh.

And how does she maintain that perfect porcelain skin?

“Sunscreen is very important, but there isn’t one miracle cream. We’re all different.”

After performing in a pink Swarovski crystal cowgirl outfit (which, of course, was quickly removed) — complete with crystal-encrusted Christian Louboutin boots — to perform her risqué burlesque striptease, she switched back into her glamorous gown and went clubbing with her girlfriends, dutifully leaving at 1:30 AM, yawning on the way out. At least she practices what she preaches.

I’m serious, People. Hire me. Email me your stuff. I’ll copyedit. You must be aware of how badly you’ve been doing lately in terms of errors. I could make a big difference in your work.

In Honor of Independence Day

Happy Independence Day, everyone! In honor of our country’s birthday, I have a thematically appropriate grammatical error.

From People.com today:

Joey Chestnut Wins Hot Dog Eating Contest
By Stephen M. Silverman

At Wednesday’s midday match, the 23-year-old civil-engineering student beat six-time defending champion Takeru Kobayashi, 29, of Japan, by downing a record-breaking 66 dogs. Kobayashi ate 63 dogs.

In the final 120 seconds of the 12-minute competition the competitors appeared to be an adrenaline surging jaw-to-jaw tie – until Chestnut won.

Civil-engineering?

Last time I checked, it was civil engineering. That hyphen is entirely unnecessary.

Also, there should be a comma after competition in the second paragraph.

Also, take a look at the title. It should be Hot Dog-Eating Contest, not Hot Dog Eating Contest. It would also be appropriate to use this rule when discussing cud-chewing contests or midget-tossing competitions. Exceptions would be made for base jumping competitions or bungee jumping finals, as base jumping and bungee jumping are entities unto themselves, while hot dog eating isn’t well-known enough to be its own entity.

Stephen M. Silverman, I know that it was probably your editor who made the mistake with the headline — it’s rare that a writer gets to write his or her own headlines. But for the rest of the mistakes, pay attention! You’re really going to need to step up.

Happy Fourth! I hope you have a fantastic Pops-listening, fireworks-watching, hot dog-eating evening of fun!