Saturday, July 10, 2010

I want my commas back.

For years, I've been one of those truly obnoxious people pointing out grammatical errors and typos in signs.  Sometimes, I've even surreptitiously (and not so surreptitiously) erased such glaring errors as misused apostrophes.  When asked, I've explained that no one can make a noun plural by adding an apostrophe and an "s" and that "its" really does mean something different from "it's."  I know.  It's annoying for me to do that.  But--like Lynne Truss, the author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves--I believe that the decline in language ability is a precursor to the destruction of civilization as we know it.  I'm . . . a "wordie."

So when I see the latest anti-Harry Reid ad, with its "Really[,] Harry?" slogan (see here), I ask myself how an advertising company could manage not to insert the comma.  Would having a comma somehow scream "elitism" and fail to resonate with the voting public?  American Crossroads puts the comma in when announcing the ad (see here).  What happened to the missing comma in the ad itself?

Imagine how happy I was, then, to see an op-ed in today's Las Vegas Sun (I'd publish the link, but the Sun doesn't have it up) by Jan Freeman, my new favorite grammarian (see here).  The column discusses the history of various word pairs that supposedly connote distinctions (e.g., "authentic" vs. "genuine").  It's enough to make a wordie sigh happily.  Brava, Ms. Freeman!

Update:  For the opposite point of view, see here and here.   Hat tip to my buddy Bruce.

1 comment:

shorter college lawrenceville said...

Thank you for sharing us your reviews. I think we need to focus on sharing our knowledge on basic communication to others. Most of the time, the basics are often forgotten.