Category Archives: Entertainment

I don’t like this tense.

When reading news articles and other sources of Web journalism, the tense is nearly always the past. The past makes sense because the stories describe events that have already taken place.

I hopped over to after a night at Johnny D’s to grab the last news of the night, and I came across the following story. It describes Usher’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Here is a clip:

Dad-to-Be Usher: ‘I Want a Boy’

“Last time you were here, you were single,” DeGeneres also tells him. “You said you wanted a lady that you could take from the Waffle House to the White House. You found her.”

“I did. I found someone that I’m very, very happy to call my wife,” he tells her. “Tameka Raymond. She’s beautiful.”

Only DeGeneres also wants to know why she wasn’t invited to the wedding, which was originally scheduled for July 28 in the Hamptons but ended up taking place in a civil ceremony in Atlanta.

One thing that complicates the issue is that this show already taped, but it’s set to broadcast this Tuesday. The conversation already happened, obviously, but it hasn’t shown on TV. In a strange way, it’s almost as if it doesn’t exist yet.

I particularly find the third paragraph awkward-sounding. The tenses are all over the place.

I’m trying to imagine why this seems so familiar, and I think I recognize the usage of the present tense from reviews of children’s books and movies. “Mary Anne realizes that it’s true — she, in fact, misses Logan and wants him back.” “Kristy wants to start a softball team, but a little boy named Jackie Rodowsky is completely accident-prone!”

But, now that I think about it, why would that be restricted to children’s works? It shouldn’t be. All reviews are in the present tense.

I’m thinking more, and after reading through the story again, I think it’s more a stylistic issue than anything else. The writer, describing what each person says, seems to do something that is extraneous. We don’t need to be told every line in advance. Doing so makes it seem like we don’t understand it, which is paradoxical, because as celebrity gossip fans, we want to hear every line!

I’m having a hard time explaining this, and I wish I could do it better.

What do you think? Does using the present tense and describing each line each person says make it sound juvenile?

In other news, while having pizza at Mike’s in Davis Square tonight, I noticed a grammatical error on the cocktail menu.

“Do you have a pen?” I asked my sister.

She stared at me coldly. “DON’T.”

I am no longer permitted to vandalize grammar in front of her because it embarrasses her.


Clarification on "In Tow"

I saw this story a few weeks ago on, then forgot about it, thought it was on, 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.


I saw this on Ticketmaster the other day, and it made me delirious with happiness.

The Final Year
Fewer than 50 performances left! Don’t miss Celine Dion in Vegas!
In a land where virtually every grocery store seems to have a lane for “12 items or LESS,” it’s a rare treat to see the word fewer used correctly.
Ticketmaster, I applaud you!
Now, if only the Brood can get to Vegas before Celine’s show ends….

Worst Grammar Offenses in Pop Culture

I was perusing the discussion boards on the “Good Grammar Is Hot” group on Facebook, and I came across a discussion of the worst grammar offenses in pop culture.

Here are some of them:

John G:

Okay, mine is from Justin Timberlake’s song “what goes around.” He actually
says, “my heart BLEEDED, girl”

Well, there aren’t too many words that rhyme with cheated. Did I mention that I swore up and down that I thought I saw him driving through Powderhouse Circle the other night when he was in town?

Joaquina G:

How about the song “the way I are”

Alexa already brought that up! Timbaland doesn’t even sing that line anywhere in the song! It’s just the title!

Caleb T:

“How you doing?” ……………..stupid Joey


Marc Z:

That rap tune that goes “is you is or is you ain’t” is pretty bad. Also, The Doors song, Touch Me, features the lyric:
“I’m gonna love you
Till the stars fall from the sky
For you and I”
Which has always bothered me.

I cannot STAND it when people use I instead of me. The people who do this tend to emphasize the I, and many probably think that they’re being intelligent, speaking better than anyone. Well, all of you know that they’re wrong.

Ellen A:

Does anyone else hate Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry?”
“I’m not gonna miss you, like a child misses their blanket.”
It grates, and I have to change the station until the song is over.

I completely agree. This line of the song bugs me SO much! It ruins the song for me, and the song isn’t even that great. (I think Fergie should stick to the crazy/strange dance numbers.)

Abigail B:

backstreet boys “all i have to give”
“does his friends get all your time?” and “does his gifts come from the heart?”
gee, i DOESN’T know… DOES THEY??

This is for the Brood, my best friends from home. We used to make music videos to this song and “I Want It That Way.”

Yoni B:

In a rap song (the rapper’s name eludes me at the moment):’Do your chain hang low? Do it wobble to the floor(read “flo”)? Do it shine in the light? Is it platinum, is it gold?’He’s managed to rhyme ‘low’ with ‘floor’ and ‘gold.’ Quite the feat.

I detest this song.

Kandi R:

John Cougar Mellencamp, “Small Town”. I’m a Hoosier from a small town myself, and I love the song, and I love the Coug, but one of the lines is: “and I cannot forget from where it is that I come from”.

Oh, God. Beyond redundant.

I’m not going to comment on the specific writing of these Facebook posters.

Why not?

I’m here to talk about grammar errors made by companies, businesses, groups and institutions with the financial means to afford an editor. I don’t go after individuals unless the errors are jaw-droppingly egregious, and I don’t turn up my nose at every email I receive. (So many of you write to tell me that you’re afraid of what I’ll say about your writing — relax!!)

That being said, however, I am a bit surprised that some of the people in a group called “Good Grammar Is Hot” have no qualms about posting a sentence full of errors.

That is all.

It’s late and I have to be at work in just over nine hours….I only got home from work an hour ago. OH, NO!! I just realized that I missed Barack Obama on The Daily Show!!

I have some plans for tomorrow night — I’m going out to Union with my friend Lisa, as they still have their Restaurant Week menu (for more on Restaurant Week, visit Kate’s Adventures) — and then we may try to visit the Beehive or just do our usual Hong Kong thing. Either way, I won’t be posting tomorrow night.

Have a great few days!

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….

Celebrity Grammar

It’s a hybrid of my two favorite blog topics: grammar and celebrity gossip!

These pictures are great. Check them out:

I once saw a stop sign that read HAMMERTIME underneath the word STOP. This is ALMOST as good.

This is a bit old, but it’s just as bewildering. In this message, Britney talks about preparing for a “roll” in a movie. Being the trashy train wreck that she is, she was probably thinking about how hungry she was.

Seriously, though! This was taken from her official Web site!

She’s crazy, and she won’t listen to anyone….until recently, she had no manager or publicist, and she has been estranged from her family….it’s no surprise that she has no editor, either.