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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Grammar Blogs

I've been enjoying two grammar-related blogs lately: Apostrophe Abuse and The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks.

I recall an old post in which I bemoaned signs advertising the sale of "hot dog's," but obviously my local gas station is not alone in its misuse of apostrophes! Lots of pizzerias are offering Pizza's.

Unnecessary quotation marks - now there's an oddity. I can't understand this phenomenon. I recently saw an item on a breakfast menu called "fake" turkey bacon. Do the quotations marks negate the "fakeness," meaning that the turkey bacon is in fact real? And is it not actually fake bacon, but quite real turkey bacon? I often think that I should get a job editing menus. Have you ever noticed the sheer number of grammar or punctuation errors when you're perusing your food choices? Even big chain restaurant menus are not without their little mistakes.

I particularly like this post showing a sign reading "Very Nice" Any Time Gifts because it looks like the writer of the message wasn't sure whether "any time" should be one word or two, so he squished them together - but capitalized each word just to cover his bases. (Also, the "very nice" gifts are actually a style rather reminiscent of the seventies, so perhaps the words "very nice" do belong in quotes after all, as a joke - although I doubt the writer intended it that way.)

I also got a laugh out of this sign, advising people to "Pull" on the door handle (or do they mean the opposite?) - and giving them some encouragement as well.

I personally love signs that label a building as "Office," or a desk as "Main Desk," or that instruct persons in conspiratorial, quotation-laden terms to "Ask For Assistance." It leaves me with the vague impression that I've entered a front for the mob, and that if I just know the password with which to "Ask For Assistance," I'll be ushered to the real "Main Desk" where the inside business is conducted.

I often see the words "historic" or "historical" in quotes, and I wonder about the writer's intent. Is the site in fact so non-historic as to be laughable, or do some people think that words like this just belong in quotation marks?

My Grandma is the only person whose rampant usage of quotation marks is an endearing trait. She particularly uses quotes for words or phrases so "historic" that she fears I might not grasp her meaning, writing to me that she is "hanging in there" although she is getting a bit "old," warning me that she is a "nut" thanks to said "old" age, asking if I can "figure out" her meanings, or advising me to do some "sight-seeing" back East when I can. She also appears to use quotation marks for emphasis, as in the following: Love to you "and Nathan." (Or perhaps she doesn't love Nathan, after all.)

1 comment:

  1. I finally got around to clicking on these links (you've been starred in Google Reader for a few weeks), and am sitting in my little workspace laughing out loud at punctuation errors. Hopefully no one asks "why" (ha!) I am laughing... thanks for sharing grammar humor.

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