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Add Your Own Criminal Sentence!

If you find a particularly terrible sentence somewhere, post it for all to see (go here and put it in the Comments section).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My apologies to blog readers

I know I haven't posted that much this year, and I wanted to apologize! It's an extremely busy month. I promise to get back to complaining about others' grammar and punctuation soon!

Poll Results 167

Here was the question:

Which is correct?

"I’m off to confess, my love."
0 (0%)
"I’m off to confess my love."
7 (15%)
Either could be right.
37 (82%)
Neither is right.
1 (2%)

Congrats to 82% of you; either could be right.

The first involves someone telling his/her significant other that he/she is going to confess.
The second involves someone announcing that he/he is going to admit he/she loves someone.

Those are quite different meanings but just one little comma!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Poll Results 166

Here was the question:

What is wrong with this Spanish sign: "Feliz Ano Nuevo"?

I don't know; I don't speak Spanish.
5 (17%)
The spelling is incorrect.
1 (3%)
An accent or Spanish-only letter is wrong.
23 (79%)

Que bueno! Good job, 79% of you. I saw this sign and was reminded of the most embarrassing situation I ever got myself into.

Background: I have studied various languages, including Spanish and Japanese. Sometimes when I am speaking Spanish, for example, a Japanese word will creep in unintended.

So here's the story: I was in Mexico and had just ordered dinner in the restaurant attached to the hotel where I was staying. I ordered in Spanish with no problem. Just after the waiter left with my order, I felt a wave of nausea (perhaps Montezuma's revenge was on the way!). So I called the waiter over, and my intention was to ask him to make it a to-go order. While fighting nausea, I haltingly explained what I wanted, and the waiter had a stunned expression on his face from almost the beginning. He eventually understood me. Later I realized what had happened. I had thought I said, "I, um, would like to, um, take this food back to my, um, room" but I had used the Japanese word for "um." This Japanese word is "ano." Turns out that "ano" means "anus" in Spanish, so I was saying, "I, anus, would like to, anus, take this food back to my, anus, room." In Spanish, "ano" is "anus" and "año" is "year."

This sign, "Feliz Ano Nuevo," then, says, "Happy New Anus"!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Poll Results 165

Here was the question:

What, if anything, is wrong here? "In cases where information here should take precedent over the official guides, it will be very clearly stated with the explanation."

Nothing is wrong.
3 (8%)
Nothing is wrong, but the sentence could be edited down.
10 (28%)
The spelling is wrong.
4 (11%)
The spelling is wrong, and the sentence could be edited down.
3 (8%)
The grammar is wrong.
1 (2%)
The grammar is wrong, and the sentence could be edited down.
14 (40%)

Congratulations to 40% of you. One definitely wrong item is "precedent," which should be "precedence." In addition, the comparison of "information" to "style guides" is not grammatical. Further, the sentence is wordy. I would rewrite as follows:

"The explanation will clearly state when information here should take precedence over that in the official guides."

Still not perfect, but much better!

(P.S. I probably should have added another choice: "The spelling and grammar are wrong, and the sentence could be edited down." Sorry about that oversight!)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Poll Results 164

Here was the last question of the year:

Anything wrong here? "The judge motioned for the guards to sit him back down."

40 (75%)
13 (24%)

Congrats to 24% of you. The potential for error was in the word "sit." Is it transitive (takes an object) or intransitive (doesn't take an object)? A quick dictionary check indicates it's both.

Why did 75% of you think there was a mistake?