Welcome to today’s foolish flubs, Friday Follies fans (and those with great affection and appreciation for alliteration).
Jeer at these gaffes in the Grammar Cop’s grab-bag:
- “Looking for bilingual salesperson to cover Montreal & surrounding area’s with fantastic…”
- “Dr. Sleiman, who is a chemistry professor at McGill for the past 20 years, earned the fellowship for…”
- “…masters that instrument with lightning speed no matter what type of music he plays, whether it be blues, classic rock or western swing.”
- Okay, the error in this excerpt should JUMP OUT at you. It should HIT YOU IN THE FACE. But if you’re not sure, I’ll tell you. You’re looking for a salesperson to cover “surrounding area’s”? Why is there an apostrophe in areas? You only insert an apostrophe if it’s possessive, as in the area’s wildlife is unusual, or the area’s trees are maples and pines. But here it should be just a plain old plural. How do you make a plural? Just add an s. Areas. No apostrophe. (Note that ITS/IT’S is an exception! When we insert an apostrophe in it’s, we are creating a contraction of it is, as in it’s time to go. How do we make it a possessive? Just add an s: its. Its tail. Its cover. Its paw.)
- The use of the present tense of the word “is” is wrong. It would be fine if the sentence ended after the name, “McGill.” However, since the writer added “for the past 20 years,” referring to the past, the proper form to use instead of “is” would be has been: Dr. Sleiman, who has been a chemistry professor at McGill for the past 20 years, earned…
- The Grammar Cop cannot stand this awkward and ugly construction, “whether it be.” The writer of this abomination actually used it THREE TIMES in one article! There’s nothing wrong with the perfectly good phrase, whether it is. Or better yet, just the word whether alone. So you’d have …masters that instrument with lightning speed no matter what type of music he plays, whether blues, classic rock or western swing.
The Grammar Cop will lie down now and play some nice music – whether blues or folk, she’ll enjoy its soothing tones.