Monday, October 27, 2008

Grammar Nazi

These things drive me crazy! Take a look at this cartoon:

For those of you who come by after this link no longer works, the punchline at the end is: I’m so boring that if I were ever in eminent danger, somebody else’s life would flash before my eyes.

What the heck is eminent danger?


high in station, rank, or repute; prominent; distinguished: eminent statesmen.

conspicuous, signal, or noteworthy: eminent fairness.

lofty; high: eminent peaks.

prominent; projecting; protruding: an eminent nose.

Doesn’t sound very boring to me.

Now, obviously, the cartoonist meant imminent danger (which would make a life less boring as well, but let’s not quibble…more than we already are…), but that’s not what was said. This kind of thing drives me crazy. I don’t make my living with words, but I know the difference between eminent and imminent. Why don’t they?

Honestly, I don’t expect everyone to have perfect grammar and word choice all the time. When people send me emails or instant messages or (especially) text messages, I don’t think poorly of them if there are a few misspellings or grammar errors. Casual conversation is not terribly formal, and I don’t think people should necessarily spend a lot of time making sure their writing is perfect. But when you are publishing something formally, it should be right! Drives me crazy!

So, in order to get this out of my system, I am going to start posting examples that I see here. I know, this is only tangentially related to books, but it is about reading.


Hilary said...

Mine is the use of the word "unique." As in, "That's a very unique jacket you're wearing." Unique is binary, it is or it isn't. There are not degrees of uniqueness.

I'm also bothered by people who say, "I want to thank you for ..." I just wish they'd thank them outright, and not only wish to thank them! I don't suppose that's a grammar issue exactly, but I thought I'd mention it. ;-)

You're blogging again, does that mean the house is settling down?

Susan said...

I am liable to say something like "Go ahead, you can thank me if you would like to..." but I do the same thing sometimes. Habit, I guess...