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May 13, 2004

Mr. Grammar Man's Head Explodes

It's depressing, some of the people who get paid to write.

Man does not learn from his own and others mistakes.

"Others mistakes?" Who? Aliens? Chimps? Also, it should be "others' mistakes."

Notably the falls of Rome and Greece, Attila the Hun, Mithridates and Genghis Khan and, more recently, the demise of the British Empire and Third Reich.


All great powers in one way or another during their heyday.

Another fragment

Now we watch our own beloved country, once a bastion of peace and prosperity built on the ideals of liberty and fraternity, corrupted by greed and the unrelenting search for power by a family determined to ’rule the world.’

Where to begin? Egregious misuse of quotes, for starters, and apparently our country was once a tad schizophrenic, as it was simultaneously "a bastion of peace and prosperity built on the ideals of liberty and fraternity" and "corrupted by greed and the unrelenting search for power." Improper verb tense.

Back in the early 1980’s, I was traveling in the Middle East with my husband who was the General Manager for a North Carolina tractor company.

Apostrophes are not be used when pluralizing decades.Comma used in place of a semicolon. How dare she hail from my state! This is example number one why Virginia thinks it's better than we are.

We were welcomed wherever we went, in fact the red carpet was laid down in countries like Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

Run-on sentence.

The people were friendly and courteous for America was to them a land of plenty, a land where new technology was bursting at the seams to improve the lives of the peoples of the world.

Missing a comma. Mixed metaphor.

The multi-media is being taken over by a few power hungry men who are working on telling us how to think. Brain washing in a big way.

Unnecessary dash. Yet another fragment.


During my travels I have spoken with many learned men who descry what is going on.

Decry, not descry.

They know how gullible the masses are, how easily they are swayed by a deft sleigh of the hand.

"A deft sleigh of the hand." I bet it's a tiny one, drawn by miniature reindeer.

Picture the enormous parades at Nuremberg when Hitler came to power, and to be a little lighter, how well Braveheart, born Mel Gibson, manipulated the Scottish warriors against their enemies.

Jesus Christ on a Popsicle stick.

We have read how the Romans cheered loudly as Caesar returned from his battles in Gaul laden with treasure and prisoners.

I wonder how he carried it all?

Now we see our President with his cronies gathering up the reigns of power in oil bearing countries and proudly imprisoning those who are ‘enemies of the state’ – worldwide coverage on television is his venue.

Reins! Reins! REINS, YOU HAM-FISTED IDIOT! More quote misuse. Also, while television can be a venue, coverage cannot.

And in this land of the free, a dark pallor of unease and suspicion covers the sky and seeps into the psyche of thinking people.

Oxymoron. A "dark pallor" is a physical impossibility.

Can we not learn from others mistakes?

"others" needs an apostrophe. We can learn from yours, that seems certain.

Carolan Nathan lives in the USA. She also writes on food, wine and travel for varied newspapers and magazines.


Posted by Bigwig at May 13, 2004 02:57 PM | TrackBack
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Great Fisking there!!! I wonder what kind of magazines allow this woman to wriite forthem. I know she would have failed English 101(freshman English) at the Big-10 Univ I attended.
Maybe she ought to go back to school and learn how to write a persuasive essay.

Posted by: ronin at May 13, 2004 03:05 PM

Absolutely excellent! Thank you!

Posted by: tracey at May 13, 2004 03:32 PM

...And it's actually others', dammit.

In my somewhat narrow experience, it's more the editor's responsibility to avoid crap like that, kinda like the dude with the garbage can who follows behind the horse at the parade.

Very few writers can censor and edit themselves effectively, while still creating decent copy - and there are things a helluva lot more important to good writing than impeccable grammar.

I wonder if in fact she's hard to work with and the editor deliberately fell asleep at the wheel.

Posted by: ben at May 13, 2004 08:37 PM

Until y'all get that whole semicolon thing down, please remember that the Old Dominion 0WnZ j00!!!

Posted by: HokiePundit at May 13, 2004 09:23 PM

Whoops! Fixed that, ben. Kind of ironic.

Posted by: Bigwig at May 13, 2004 10:36 PM

So, Bigwig, you write "Jesus's" or "Jesus'"? (As in "Jesus' apple is red.") Here I'm writin' "Jesus'" for twenty years, when all of a sudden a Canadian lady has me convinced we ought to write "Jesus's". Whatsa way to go on this?

Posted by: Jim at May 14, 2004 12:19 AM

Jim, this is the test I always use for making the possessive of a noun ending in "s": If you add another "s" sound to the word when you say its possessive form, add an apostrophe + s to the word. If you do not add another "s" sound when the possessive form is pronounced, add an apostrophe only. So, you would write Les's car, but the ladies' hats. And you would write Jesus's crown of thorns. There are more complex rules which govern this (see any grammar handbook), but my rule simplifies them.

Posted by: Yomama at May 14, 2004 10:29 AM


Posted by: Jim at May 14, 2004 11:33 AM

Her writing is pretty adept - for a sixth grader.

Posted by: Fran at May 17, 2004 01:45 PM
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