Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Hope Their Food Is Better Than Their Punctuation

JC's Backyard BBQ is offering free food for kids on Tuesday's [sic]. I'd like to offer them some free help with their horrible punctuation.

Also, I don't think there's a need to hurry if this promotion doesn't start until December. Or maybe they mean we should hurry back in time three months.

Thanks to Dave for sending this one in!

Friday, February 27, 2009

New Ways to Screw Up Punctuation

News agent is such a commonly used expression in the UK that I don't understand how anyone could get it wrong. But somehow Sweet N Things in Brighton, England, managed to.

Thanks to Mark for uploading this appalling example of apostrophe misuse to this blog's facebook group.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

One of these Is Probably Right

Here's another submission from Smoochiefrog. One of these signs must be right, right?

And what are they trying to say about the closing costs? Thanks, SF!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Big League Mistake

Red Sox fans would be thrilled if Yaz's grandson made it to the majors, a.k.a. the Big Leagues. But lose that apostrophe in the headline, Boston Globe.

Thanks to Kirsten for sending in this apostrophe catastrophe from my hometown paper. Check out her Minnesota Twins blog here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Answers to Apostrophe Crossword Puzzle

Here are the answers to the apostrophe crossword puzzle that I posted a couple of weeks ago. No cheating!

Click on the image above to make it larger. How did everyone do?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Unstoppably Bad Grammar

My friend/former co-worker Fiona sent me a link from one of the most poorly written web sites I've ever seen. Are you ready to be horrified?

Two apostrophe catastrophes (three if you count "TV's" as a catastrophe -- depends on your style guide), random capitalization, subject verb disagreement, spacing problems, a spelling mistake, no periods, missing hyphens, run-on sentences ... this web site has it all. My brain hurts.

Thanks, Fiona! Way to carpe diem! (She's a Latin teacher.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Amici's Photo's and Menu's

A lot of people seem to think it's necessary to add an apostrophe when pluralizing a word that ends in a vowel. These people include Amici's Restaurant.

That should be menus and photos, Amici's folks. But I could use a martini or two from your lounge.

Thanks to friend-of-a-friend Bethany for sending this one in!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How Did This Person Get Into College?

Angela spotted this sign on the front doors of her on-campus apartment building:

The sign features an apostrophe catastrophe and a misspelling! I'd be embarrassed if the person who wrote were my classmate. Maybe s/he cheated on the SATs. It reminds me of when I overheard a guy in my sophomore year dorm call sangria "a Spanish connotation," and I asked him, "Do you go here?" I was very disappointed when he said he did.

Thanks, Angela!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yet Another Valentine's Day Catastrophe

I should have posted this one on Saturday, but I got distracted trying to figure out whether or not Presidents' Day should have an apostrophe in it. Suzy, who happens to be the former roommate of one of my friends (small world!), sent me this photo of a horrendous t-shirt from a Goodwill shop in New York City:

She says she was so disgusted by the t-shirt that she was "tempted to complain to the manager."

Check out Suzy's original blog posting on this topic here. Thanks, Suz!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Should There Be an Apostrophe in Presidents Day?

There should be a simple answer to the question of how to punctuate today's holiday. But the problem is that Presidents Day is not the official name of the holiday; it's Washington's Birthday. But most workplaces -- including my own -- give employees the day off in honor of more than one president. So, how should we punctuate presidents?

Driving along the Auto Mile a couple of days ago, I saw it written on banners as President's Day, Presidents' Day, and Presidents Day. Option number two is what my calendar uses. But my calendar -- and this list of federal holidays -- calls November 11 Veterans Day (no apostrophe). If we were going for consistency, today should be Presidents Day. That's certainly what they'd do in Birmingham. But I'm going to have to declare Presidents' Day the winner. It just looks right.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Perfect Valentine's Day Gift

This is a rough weekend for a lot of people, especially punctuation sticklers. With Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day upon us, we're inundated with misplaced apostrophes.

This sparkly gift I received is appropriate for both holidays because it represents the love I feel for our president. Sadly, it commits two apostrophe catastrophes.

Stick Em' only works as a contraction if you're talking about a skinny dude named Emile. And, according to most style guides, MP3s shouldn't have an apostrophe in it either.

Happy Valentine's Day, blog readers! I love you!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Flushing Punctuation Down the Toilet

An anonymous reader sent me this badly punctuated and randomly capitalized sign from the bathroom at her workplace:

Ms. X wonders why the sign writer used an apostrophe in pads but not tampons and why certain words are capitalized for no reason. And finally, "Why put this sign above a box that is designed specifically for toilet paper and seat covers instead of on the flap to the garbage box?"

I guess we'll never know.

Thanks, anonymous woman in San Jose, California!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This Means They Don't Understand Apostrophes

Melinda sent me this sign from a salon in JCPenney:

I didn't even know that JCPenney had salons. You learn something new every day. And JCPenney need to learn how to use apostrophes correctly. "Mean's"?? That is horrifying.

Thanks, Melinda!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Am Not GLAD About the Bad Punctuation in Press'n Seal

This delicious turkey leg came into my life wrapped in GLAD Press'n Seal.

Much like Guns N' Roses and Sweet 'N Low, Press'n Seal is missing the second apostrophe in the shortened form of and. But GLAD also forgot to put a space after Press. Are they trying to call the product "Press on Seal"? That would explain the missing apostrophe, but they'd still need a space before the n.

This apostrophe catastrophe did not, however, stop me from eating the turkey.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What the World Needs Now Is Semicolons

Semicolons are a dying breed of punctuation marks. But there's one person out there who still defends them and uses them properly: Barack Obama. I recently started reading Dreams from My Father, and have been very impressed with Obama's punctuation skills. The creator of this sign could take a lesson from our new president.

Some people say that a comma can separate two short sentences, but I think the sign looks sloppy and should use a semicolon instead. The comma doesn't indicate enough of a pause between the two statements. An em-dash might work, too.

Thanks (again!) to Merry for sending this one in.

Monday, February 9, 2009

This Ruined the View

A few months ago, a couple of friends and I made our way to the top floor of the Custom House to check out the view. But this sign kind of ruined it.

It's venues? Also, city shouldn't be capitalized.

Tourists, don't let this apostrophe catastrophe tarnish Boston's image. Some of us know how to use proper punctuation.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Double Catastrophe in Bali

Putu from Bali sent me this double apostrophe catastrophe:

"I think they intended to make a catastrophic mistake, but ended up worsening it," writes Putu.

I'm excited that I received a blog submission from 10,000 miles away! Thanks, Putu!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Apostrophe Crossword Puzzle

Today, I would like to present something that's not a catastrophe at all. In fact, it's quite impressive. Have you ever wished that you could find a crossword puzzle that contained apostrophes? Well, by George, we've got the puzzle for you! Really. It was created by a guy named George.

Click on the images below to make them larger.

E-mail me if you want these in a PDF format. Blogger won't let me post PDFs. I'll post the answers next week.

Thanks, George!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Delicious Italian Food — and an Apostrophe Catastrophe for My Birthday

OK, so I lied in yesterday's entry when I said that I wouldn't eat cake if it was on a grammatically incorrect menu. I did eat cake — after eating lots of delicious Italian food — despite this:

In my defense, the cake wasn't one of the special's. Plus, the food was so good that even the apostrophe catastrophe on the menu made me smile.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You Know Your Grammar Is Full of...

Welcome to new readers who are here by way of Red Pen, Inc. As the Grammarphile mentioned, today is my birthday. So, I might have to eat some cake tonight. But not if the menu is grammatically incorrect, like this:

Thanks to my friend/co-worker Amy who took that photo at The Breakfast Club in Allston.

Monday, February 2, 2009

An NFL Catastrophe

No, I'm not a Cardinals fan. In fact, I was happy with the outcome of the game last night because I won 50 bucks in my office pool. The catastrophe here comes from the NFL shop. A reader named Larry sent me this screenshot:

The top tab says "DVD's," while the side navigation (correctly) leaves out the apostrophe.

Thanks, Larry!