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If you have a writing, grammar, style or punctuation question, send an e-mail message to curiouscase at sign hotmail dot com.

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).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Criminal Sentence 604: No More!

From an online article about the Diamondbacks (go, team!!):

"To Gibson, however, none of those stats matter any more."

What's the difference between "anymore" and "any more"?

"Anymore" is an adverb that means "any longer": "I don't want to date you anymore."

You use "any more" alongside a noun: "I don't want to eat any more cake."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Criminal Sentence 603: Attached to Subject-Verb Agreement

From a comment about a blog post:

"Characters are what attaches me to a story."

Um. Subject-verb agreement is what attaches me!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Misspelled Tattoo!

An interesting article.

Poll Results 152

Here was the question:

How distracted do you get/how do you act when a book is full of typos?

I chuck it as soon as I see an error.
3 (6%)
I write corrections in the book but keep reading.
9 (19%)
I wince but read on.
32 (68%)
I don't let it bother me. No one's perfect.
3 (6%)

I recently read a non-fiction book filled with typos but I had to keep reading because I needed the information!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Criminal Sentence 602: LA Times Uh Oh Times Two

Thanks to Stephanie for pointing these two errors out.


Here's a sentence from an LA Times article dated September 21:

A law enforcement investigation tracked a delivery of potent marijuana from Northern California to a home in Kentucky where two NFL players were at when the package arrived, according to a report by California Watch.

The yellow highlighting is mine. "Were at" is my question. It sounds bad and I would rephrase it, but is there a rule against using this construction? Do you need the word at?

You definitely don't need the word "at."


Dear Bonnie,

I couldn't resist sending you this second sentence by another LA Times reporter:

Three Covina men are behind bars after they allegedly stole a 30-pack of Tecate beer from a market and attempted to escape but crashed a car and hit an employee who chased them, then one ran through a car wash and another left behind his ID.

What's wrong with the LA Times?

Good question, Stephanie!! That sentence is a disaster!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Criminal Sentence 601: Poor Girls

Seen on a sign at the local junior high:

"Girl's Softball..."

Too bad the school could find only one girl to play. Hope the team doesn't have to forfeit. (Oh, I guess they do have more players. That would be "Girls' Softball.")

If my kids were at that school, would I have a right to complain about this or would the staff just see me as an uptight parent?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Criminal Sentence 600: Feeling Threatened by an Apostrophe

Am I naughty if I hope the sign writer got a little bite from a rattlesnake because of this apostrophe error?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Poll Results 151

The question:

Which new officially acceptable Scrabble word do you agree should be allowed?

1 (2%)
1 (2%)
1 (2%)
13 (27%)
None should be allowed.
30 (63%)
All should be allowed.
1 (2%)

I think "blingy" is OK, but not the others.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Criminal Sentence 599: I Object!

From a Web site:

"This is not a hard and fast rule an many other factors need to be considered."

Um, it might be a good idea to proofread before posting!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Criminal Sentence 598: Clinky Link

From a blog post:

"'s been a truism that most agents won't clink on a link..."

Interesting typo there. I've never clinked on a link!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Criminal Sentence 597: Need Another "And"

A subhead in today's paper:

"U.N. summit to focus on cancer, diabetes, heart and lung disease"

I understand there's a space issue here, but this list is not parallel. Here are the four diseases they're talking about:

heart disease
lung disease

The third one in this list as written seems to be just "heart." If there had been more space, the subhead writer could have written "diabetes, heart disease and lung disease."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Poll Results 150

Here was the question:

How many people are in the picture described in this sentence? "I am looking at a photograph of Dominic and Rowan's mother."

28 (46%)
14 (23%)
It could be one or two.
18 (30%)

Thanks to a reader for asking me this question. He correctly noted that the sentence is ambiguous, so congratulations to 30% of you. The photo could be of a man, Dominic, and a woman, Rowan's mother. Or, the photo could be of one person, a woman, who is the mother of both Dominic and Rowan. When you share the noun, you share the apostrophe, so if the woman is the mother of both boys/men, you need only one apostrophe.

To make certain this was not ambiguous, you would have to rewrite the sentence.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Poll Results 149

The question:

Which is incorrect?

I feel like it looks fantastic.
21 (25%)
I feel like sleeping more.
5 (6%)
I feel like you're not listening.
4 (4%)
None is incorrect.
21 (25%)
More than one is incorrect.
31 (37%)

Congratulations to 37% of you. The first and third answers are incorrect. You need to use "as if" instead of "like." For more info, check out this Grammar Girl episode.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Criminal Sentence 595: Not on Good Tems

From a Web site:

"We'll occasionally email you places matching your search criteria and will never share your email without your consent. Tems of Use"

I do not accept these tems!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Criminal Sentence 594: Hurtful Sentence

From a book:

"Clinging to your anger and resentment only huts you."

Ouch. That hurts!