Category Archives: Stylistic Issues

On "Do’s and Don’t’s"

Do’s and Don’ts of Office Romance

This headline has been on cnn.com since this morning.

I’m always surprised when I see errors in stories on cnn.com and people.com, and even after hours pass, they’re not corrected.

No matter what you think about using an apostrophe or not, whether you believe that Halle Berry is known for her fashion “dos” or fashion “do’s” (she ALWAYS gets it right!), you have to admit that the sentence is wrong because only one uses an apostrophe before the S.

I’ve been looking it up everywhere, trying to find a few sources, but I can’t find much information out there.

According to Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, you should include the apostrophes.

According to the AP Stylebook, you should not.

I have no idea which one is right.

I’m a bit wary to trust Lynne Truss because she’s British and many of the rules that she describes in the book are only used in British English (using punctuation outside quotation marks, for example).

Also, I’m a bit wary to trust the AP, because while I use that as my usual guide, I know that they follow some weird rules and it’s not the be-all and end-all.

Let’s consider this part one of a series.

Let’s consider whether or not to use the apostrophe.

Points of consideration:

–single letters get an apostrophe for the plural; double letters or acronyms do not
–if using multiple instances of words (he used too many “ums” in his speech), an apostrophe is not used

What do you think?

Do NOT call him Smokey the Bear!

I have to admit that I’ve been having a tough time finding original ideas lately. I started leafing through my AP Stylebook to find definitions for unusual words, and then I saw something that blew my mind!

Smokey Or Smokey Bear.
Not Smokey the Bear.
But: A smoky room.

Evidently, we’re not allowed to call him Smokey the Bear!

What’s up with that?

It’s always been Smokey the Bear to me. When I was in high school, one of my friends took the screenname “smokeythebear1″ to harrass guys in our class. (We were fun.)

I find it astonishing that the AP feels the need to clarify that issue.

I have to warn you again…that I will not be posting tomorrow. Once you hear why, you will surely forgive me based on the sheer awesomeness of what I’m doing.

I’m going to Donnie Wahlberg’s birthday party.

The New Kid on the Block. The one who played the crazy guy at the beginning of The Sixth Sense. The one who burned down that house back in the 90s. Donnie was always the crazy one.

I love living in Boston.

(Let’s hope that his little brother Marky Mark is there! After meeting Vanilla Ice last March, I’m collecting all the early 90s hunks!)

Would you trust this business?

Imagine that you run a large marketing firm and you’re looking to hire a freelance copywriter for occasional projects.

You do research, you weed through the ads on Craigslist and you compile a list of contendors.

Now, imagine this:

One copywriting business is called “The ORIGINAL Koncept & Kopy Overload.”

Would you trust this business’s credibility?

Copywriting is a business that demands accuracy of the written word. Businesses often change the spelling or word choice to reflect a clever play on words or a double entendre. However, in this case, changing the C’s to K’s adds no value to the name. (Neither does capitalizing the word original.) It may be an attempt to be cute — but is cuteness a quality for which ones looks when hiring a copywriter?

Because of this, I do not trust the company’s credibility. The company may, in fact, do excellent work, but I wouldn’t go any further than glancing over the name.

It would be different if it were a restaurant or a household product. The fact that it’s a copywriting business — again, a business that demands accuracy of the written word — makes me wary to go near it.

I contacted the business.

I would like to hear your opinions before I post anything further.

Clarification on "In Tow"

I saw this story a few weeks ago on People.com, then forgot about it, thought it was on TMZ.com, searched relentlessly and finally found it.

Readers may disagree on this one.

From Nicole Richie and Joel Madden: Engaged?


The pair, along with entourage in tow, popped into Nathans of Georgetown restaurant for a late lunch before making their way to the upscale Georgetown baby boutique Dawn Price Baby.

First of all, if you look back to Grammar Errors in Our Nation’s Capital, you will see my picture of the name plate at Nathans in Georgetown, chastising its pointless lack of an apostrophe. (Seriously, does the restaurant gain anything from not including the apostrophe? Barneys New York, take note!)

However, after seeing this story, I realized that I had a problem with the writer, Arnesa A. Howell, and her usage of the phrase along with entourage in tow.

Ideally, I would have used entourage in tow.

Easily, one also could have used along with their entourage.

But when one uses along with entourage in tow, it’s perfectly redundant. It’s unnecessary.

It hurts my head.

This needs burned.

I have a friend who was casually talking and then murmured, “This needs burned.”

My other friends and I have never let her forget it.

She meant to say, “This needs to be burned.” So, why omit the letters?

The strangest thing about the phrase is that I have never heard anyone else use that grammar. Keep in mind that while I’ve traveled a good amount, most of my U.S. travel was when I was young, and I’ve only lived in the northeast. It may have come from the relatives on her mother’s side of the family, who live in Texas.

Is it a southern thing? Have you ever heard people saying, “The gas tank needs filled,” or perhaps, “The kids need dressed nicely,” at any given moment?

It’s one of the phrases that just comes from nowhere.

Now that I think about it, I can’t remember the thing that needed to be burned in the first place. What needs to be burned? A pirate map?

I’m going out "to the bar"

This latest idea was brought to my attention by reader Brian. Why do we say that we’re going out “to the bar” when we could mean a multitude of bars?

I say “to the bar,” however, I’ve only said it for the past year or so. Granted, I just turned 23, so it could be an age thing.

Until recently, I would say, “We’re going out to the Hong Kong,” or, “We’re going out to the bars on Boylston Street.” I would always make it specific to a certain bar or location. If I didn’t generalize, I would say, “We’re going out to the bars.” I would say that in Boston. At Fairfield, I would always specify the particular bar. During my semester in Florence, I would always specify the bar as well, because we always, always knew exactly where we were going at the beginning of the night.

So, why did this change?

I think I just started repeating what my friends here in Boston said. Again, being so young (and not much of a bar-hopper compared to most of my friends), I’m relatively new to the bar scene, so I decided that I might as well repeat what more experienced bar-hoppers said, therefore making me sound more in the know.

It doesn’t make sense. Why would I say that I’m going out to the bar if I may hit up three or four?

I guess “the bar” is right up there with “prom.” It has been invented, it varies from place to place, and nobody is even positive where it originated.

Time for another poll! Do you say, “I’m going out to the bar,” when you could mean any bar in particular?

When you don’t understand the question….

I was excited to watch the LGBT issues debate on LOGO last night, and the historical debate didn’t disappoint.

(I only wish I had LOGO — I had to watch the debate on my computer, and my internet can be awful at times. I missed part of Senator Edwards and all of Senator Clinton. My internet then cut out for the rest of the night, which is why there were no posts from yesterday.)

The most shocking moment of the debate was when Governor Richardson took his seat. Melissa Etheridge, one of the panelists, asked him if he believed that homosexuality was biological or a choice.

“It’s a choice,” he said simply.

My mouth dropped open. Richardson has always been one of the worst speakers of all the candidates, but this was something beyond egregious. (You should have heard the gasp my roommate, Christie, made when I told her about it later.)

“I — um, I don’t think you understand the question,” Etheridge said. She was clearly in shock as well.

Richardson went on to say, “I’m not a scientist, but all people should be equal,” a half dozen times, and as time went on, it became clear that he simply misspoke. His camp also released a statement after the debate saying that he does not believe homosexuality is a choice.

Why am I bringing this up here?

I felt the same way when I had my interview on NPR. I totally missed the point of the first caller’s question, and because of that, I got so much hate mail from listeners.

I don’t think that Melissa Etheridge phrased the question incorrectly. There wasn’t anything wrong. I think that this just goes to show how complicated language can be, at times, especially when you have to answer questions cold. Writing is different; at least you get a chance to look over your work before submitting it.

Sometimes, words do not take effect immediately. You need a few moments to let them take shape the way you need to let one of Mario Batali’s risotti cool before you can taste the subtle pumpkin flavor. (Can you tell it’s Restaurant Week? I went to Smith and Wollensky last night, or as my family now calls it, F—ing and Awesome.)

Sometimes, you need a minute. Bill Richardson did not get that minute. Most people understood what the question meant — I sure know that I did, and I’m sure that most people did — but he didn’t.

That being said, I knew it was over for Richardson as soon as I saw the first Democratic debate. It was painful. He has done so much great work and he has, after Senator Clinton, the best political experience of all the Democratic (and Republican) candidates. It’s too bad that his public speaking skills are costing him his candidacy.

If a Democrat gets elected, he’ll be in the Cabinet, for sure.

A Night at (the) Prom

The other day at work, I was almost done with my issue of People and I hadn’t even gone to lunch yet. My friend Holly had a copy of Seventeen that she had already finished.

(Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Let me say that ever since Atoosa Rubenstein took over, Seventeen has been AWESOME, even if you’re in your early-to-mid-20s!)

“Want to trade magazines?” I asked her.

“Sure,” she replied, handing over her copy. “It’s the prom issue.”

Ah, the prom issue.

I remember those from when I was younger. Each spring, Seventeen, Teen and all the other teen magazines had an issue entirely devoted to the prom, from dresses to makeup to prom stories. This issue was no exception, and every single page was devoted to the prom in some way. (I love the “real life stories” in the magazines, and this one featured My Girlfriend Died on Prom Night.)

Okay: it’s grammar time.

Throughout the magazine, they always said prom and not the prom.

I’m going to prom.
Prom is the best night of the year.
It’s only a week until prom.

Growing up, I always said the prom.

When I was a senior, I went to the prom alone and loved every minute of it.
The prom was at the Park Plaza in Boston.
We went to Caffe Pompeii in the North End after the prom.

To be completely honest, I never heard anyone omit the the until recently. I have the feeling it’s more prevalent with younger generations. I’ve heard younger people at Fairfield as well as young people on TV and in movies just say prom.

That sounds so strange to me! Maybe removing the word the makes it seem more important, like the most magical night of high school. To me, my junior prom was fun and my senior prom was a blast, but I would never consider either of them to be one of the best nights of my time in high school. The best nights of my high school career were spent with the drama club and especially the Brood.

I asked my 19-year-old sister whether she said prom or the prom. After all, she went to her own a year ago; surely, she would remember.

Sars: “I forget.”

Well, I guess it could be a geographical thing as well.

Now, it’s time for pictures:

This first one is the ugliest ad that I could ever imagine. It could not be worse. How did this make it past all the top marketing people? Do people actually find this attractive?


If I were going to the prom this year, this is what I would have worn:

The greatest picture from my own senior prom:

I’m in front. God, I wish I were still that skinny.

Tell me: when you went to yours, did you say “I went to prom” or “I went to the prom”? I’d really like to figure this out. If you could also tell me where you’re from and a general idea of when you went, that would be helpful. Any thoughts?

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! :-)

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! :-)

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.

People Magazine is Being RUINED

Munmun O’Neill, I don’t know you. After reading your embarrassingly bad story on the birth of tennis player Lindsay Davenport’s new baby boy, I hope that I never meet you.

It’s obvious that you haven’t been in your job for long. Who could make errors like these and still keep a job in the writing field — or ANY field?!

The quality of the stories published on People.com used to be impeccable. Errors were nowhere to be found, and the journalistic tone was perfect — friendly enough for middle-aged Midwestern housewives to get their soft news fix each week, but professional enough for the intellectual and intelligent to appreciate as a credible news source.

That isn’t happening anymore.

The quality has gone down quickly and sharply. I have a theory about that. Though many big stories are initially published on People.com, the site has to compete with celebrity blogs like Perez Hilton and TMZ, and my personal favorite, Dlisted. I think that in the world of blogs, where timeliness is essential, the magazine has cut off some of its steps to publication in favor of getting the news out as soon as possible.

Being a competitor for celebrity blogs may have also affected their standards for hiring writers, but I doubt that. I would imagine that getting a job writing for People is such a great job that only the very best writers would be hired.

As a result, stories like the following get published:

Tennis Star Lindsay Davenport Has a Boy
By Munmun O’Neill

Tennis star Lindsay Davenport can now add motherhood to her list of impressive titles.

On Sunday, Davenport and her husband, Jonathan Leach, welcomed thier first child, a son named Jagger Jonathan Leach, her rep confirms. The baby, who weighed in 8 lbs., 1 oz, was born at 6:15 p.m. in Newport Beach, Calif.

“Lindsay and Jon are ecstatic and Jagger is healthy and doing great,” Davenport’s agent, Ted Godsick, told PEOPLE Tuesday.

Davenport, 31, and Leach, got married in 2003. They announced they were expecting in December of last year. The pregnancy prevented Davenport from competing this season.

I’m so disgusted, I can barely look at the page. And it’s not because of the kid’s name.

Who, in this day and age, spells the word “their” incorrectly?! Oh my God!! I honestly think that I may vomit.

There are still tons and tons of people, most of whom are not professional writers, who mix up “their,” “there” and “they’re.” While that is unforgivable in itself, it seems even worse that a professional writer would mess up the spelling!

The next sentence involves the usage of an extraneous comma. The comma after Leach is inexcusable. It’s terrible; it reminds me of reading classmates’ essays in middle school.

Davenport has an age, but Leach clearly does not. To make the sentence correct, it would be best to remove the extraneous comma.

Even if the comma weren’t there, however, the sentence would still be awkward. Either both or neither ages should be listed. I would change it to, “Davenport and Leach were married in 2003,” or maybe, “Davenport and Leach married in 2003.”

“Got married” sounds awkward. It’s tough to make the word “got” sound professional.

I may be a bit unfair in placing all of the blame on Munmun O’Neill. Even though her name appears on this story, she surely had an editorial board to get through, even if it was just one editor. How could any editor, in any field, anywhere in the Anglophone world, miss these atrocious errors?

Still, I highly doubt that Munmun O’Neill had a perfect story that an editor intentionally changed to be incorrect. And for that reason, Munmun O’Neill, you have been flagged by the Grammar Vandal.

People Magazine is Being RUINED

Munmun O’Neill, I don’t know you. After reading your embarrassingly bad story on the birth of tennis player Lindsay Davenport’s new baby boy, I hope that I never meet you.

It’s obvious that you haven’t been in your job for long. Who could make errors like these and still keep a job in the writing field — or ANY field?!

The quality of the stories published on People.com used to be impeccable. Errors were nowhere to be found, and the journalistic tone was perfect — friendly enough for middle-aged Midwestern housewives to get their soft news fix each week, but professional enough for the intellectual and intelligent to appreciate as a credible news source.

That isn’t happening anymore.

The quality has gone down quickly and sharply. I have a theory about that. Though many big stories are initially published on People.com, the site has to compete with celebrity blogs like Perez Hilton and TMZ, and my personal favorite, Dlisted. I think that in the world of blogs, where timeliness is essential, the magazine has cut off some of its steps to publication in favor of getting the news out as soon as possible.

Being a competitor for celebrity blogs may have also affected their standards for hiring writers, but I doubt that. I would imagine that getting a job writing for People is such a great job that only the very best writers would be hired.

As a result, stories like the following get published:

Tennis Star Lindsay Davenport Has a Boy
By Munmun O’Neill

Tennis star Lindsay Davenport can now add motherhood to her list of impressive titles.

On Sunday, Davenport and her husband, Jonathan Leach, welcomed thier first child, a son named Jagger Jonathan Leach, her rep confirms. The baby, who weighed in 8 lbs., 1 oz, was born at 6:15 p.m. in Newport Beach, Calif.

“Lindsay and Jon are ecstatic and Jagger is healthy and doing great,” Davenport’s agent, Ted Godsick, told PEOPLE Tuesday.

Davenport, 31, and Leach, got married in 2003. They announced they were expecting in December of last year. The pregnancy prevented Davenport from competing this season.

I’m so disgusted, I can barely look at the page. And it’s not because of the kid’s name.

Who, in this day and age, spells the word “their” incorrectly?! Oh my God!! I honestly think that I may vomit.

There are still tons and tons of people, most of whom are not professional writers, who mix up “their,” “there” and “they’re.” While that is unforgivable in itself, it seems even worse that a professional writer would mess up the spelling!

The next sentence involves the usage of an extraneous comma. The comma after Leach is inexcusable. It’s terrible; it reminds me of reading classmates’ essays in middle school.

Davenport has an age, but Leach clearly does not. To make the sentence correct, it would be best to remove the extraneous comma.

Even if the comma weren’t there, however, the sentence would still be awkward. Either both or neither ages should be listed. I would change it to, “Davenport and Leach were married in 2003,” or maybe, “Davenport and Leach married in 2003.”

“Got married” sounds awkward. It’s tough to make the word “got” sound professional.

I may be a bit unfair in placing all of the blame on Munmun O’Neill. Even though her name appears on this story, she surely had an editorial board to get through, even if it was just one editor. How could any editor, in any field, anywhere in the Anglophone world, miss these atrocious errors?

Still, I highly doubt that Munmun O’Neill had a perfect story that an editor intentionally changed to be incorrect. And for that reason, Munmun O’Neill, you have been flagged by the Grammar Vandal.