Welcome back, Friday Follyites! Today the Grammar Cop has arrested two criminals for a total of three heinous grammar gaffes. Read ’em and weep, ladies and gentlemen.
- THE SUBURBAN: (headline) “Less break-ins, unlocked car doors in Hampstead”
- THE SUBURBAN: (in ad) “12 foot long balcony; award winning gardens; 9-hole putting green; dry heat sauna”
- HUFFPOST.COM: “Trump announced he was skipping the dinner in February, making him the first president…”
And the corrections:
- It should say Fewer break-ins, not “less.” We use “less” with amounts, as in: less music, less alcohol, less fun. But we use “fewer” with numbers, as in: fewer songs, fewer people, fewer glasses, fewer car accidents. 😉
- This ad demonstrates a severe case of hyphen-o-phobia! It should say 12-foot-long balcony; award-winning gardens; and dry-heat sauna. The strange thing is that the composer of the ad did include a hyphen in 9-hole putting green. How about a little consistency there, eh? Oh, and by the way, whenever you have a number in prose that is under 10, it should be spelled out. So it should say nine-hole putting green. I’ll let them off this time with a warning, though – the ad was not formulated in a prose paragraph, but only used bullet points.
- This refers to Trump absenting himself from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which was held the last Saturday in April. Not in February. The sentence intended to say that Trump made his announcement in February. But by placing the phrase “in February” right after the word “dinner,” it’s ambiguous – it looks as if the dinner itself was in February. The “in February” phrase should go right after “announced.” Or it could go at the beginning of the sentence.
I do wish the media would use proofreaders and make fewer mistakes. Join me next week as Friday Follies explores how to make well-written prose out of half-baked mistake-laden muffins.