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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grammar Snobs, This Ones' Four Ewe

Is anyone else missing Jay Leno on The Tonight Show? I don't know what it is about Conan O'Brien, but I'm just not that into him. Quirky little leprechauns aren't my thing, apparently. I know Jay's going to be back on tv very soon - in the meantime, I'm boycotting O'Brien on principle. And because he bugs me. Anyway, one of the features I liked best on Jay's show was "Headlines." He read funny snippets from newspapers, bulletins, signs, etc. - lines full of grammatical errors, misspellings, and idiotic comments. If you, like me, are missing "Headlines," try this new book on for size: I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar by Sharon Eliza Nichols (available September 29 - the book, that is, not Sharon). The blogger and law student has collected dozens of error-filled signs into a collection sure to send grammar snobs into fits of laughter.

From the classic "Kids With Gas Eat Free" sign to bizarre spellings ("Bokay for $5") to "apostrophe catastrophes" ("Mow'in Joe's Lawn Cutting") - this book documents it all. Since most of Nichols' examples have to do with punctuation errors, they're more embarrassing than funny, although there are some downright hilarious signs (like the "peonies" example on Page 31). Nichols' commentary is sometimes witty, sometimes ... not so much. Luckily, most of the signage speaks (poorly) for itself.

Now, I don't know that punctuation errors and "creative" spellings technically come under the grammar umbrella, but they are pretty entertaining, if only because they help English majors (like myself) feel superior. I did get a little tired of Nichols' numerous examples of its/it's, their/there/they're, your/you're mistakes - they're only sometimes funny. Pathetic is more like it.

I love the idea of this book, I just thought it would be more humorous. I don't know how Jay finds such gems for his segments. Nichols' version doesn't come close, but it will do in a pinch. It's instructive, anyway. After all, gooder grammar doesnt come naturally to most folks - its a learned kind of thing. No what I mien?

If you want to connect with other grammar snobs, check out the I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar Facebook group.

Grade: B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: I'm not sure how Hollywood would make a movie out of this one, but there is a little bit of profanity and one reference to, um, "peonies."

(Book image from Barnes & Noble)


  1. Aww, I love Conan O'Brien. I started watching him in high school when he first started on the Late Show.

  2. LOL...J. Kaye, just profiled this book too. I know I could use it!

  3. Do you ever read Fail Blog? If you liked Headlines, you would enjoy the blog. Check it out, it's can be hilarious.

  4. Oops, that should be "it can be hilarious". I was just trying to fit in with the topic of the post (yah, let's go with that...)

  5. Oooh, I don't get the Conan thing either! He's too odd for me. I will always love Leno :)

  6. making a comedy movie out of this funny book is a good idea i feel.. all the best..

  7. Love the Jay Leno remark! Yes, that's it exactly. :)


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