Quote of the week:

“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done” -Steven Wright

This is both a funny and interesting quote. I feel that this works for many people because they think that they have everything planned out, but even then, those that write books don’t realize that there’s more to writing a book than just determining the length. Writing a book is a long process and it takes patience and strategy in order to ensure success, or at the very least, completion.

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Quote of the Week

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” -Mark Twain

This quote definitely could be applied to any word, not just very. The point of it is that writers often fall into a habit of using “Safe Words”. It’s the equivalent of a tic. In order to get out of that habit, a writer needs to explore all options and find a word that conveys the same intent that you want to express. As a grant writer, I find that this is a solid strategy to prevent me from using the word, “Help”, or “good.” My goal is to be as expressive as possible, and the more diverse the vocabulary, the more likely I will grab the reader’s attention.

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My Inspirational Movie

I am not a wine aficionado by any means, but I remember this particular movie to be somewhat inspirational for it’s message. Bottle Shock, the story of the great Judgement of Paris in 1976, explores both the view of both sommelier Steven Spurrier, played by Alan Rickman a firm believer that French Wine is superior to any wine, and Jim and Bo Barrett, played by Bill Pullman and Chris Pine, owners and operators of Chateau Montelena Winery in California.

Without revealing much in terms of details, the message here is clear. Believe in yourself, and you might just surprise everyone else. I recommend the movie to anyone who needs an inspirational pick me up.

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Something Funny I Found (A.K.A. the mistake of the week)

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I happened to browse Reddit this morning and found this hilarious chart of “new punctuation”. For the most part, it was very hilarious. I particularly loved the Morgan Freemark, because who doesn’t love to read sentences in Morgan Freeman’s voice.

However the most relevant aspect of this chart of “new punctuation” to the Mistake of the Week post, was the Hemi-demi-semi colon. What really stuck out to me was the description of what it was: If you don’t know when it’s appropriate, and you’re too lazy to learn, you can use this in place of commas, semicolons and periods. Pretty much whenever you feel like it.

Ordinarily as a Grammar Nazi, I’d be howling in protest at this, but seeing that this was CollegeHumor’s idea, I just had to laugh. Non-writing majors and generally lazy college students have this type of problem all the time. They can’t differentiate what form of punctuation to use, and in some cases just throw their hands in the air and make their own punctuation rules.

For College Humor to go anti-grammar nazi with a figurative “Eh, (bleep) it” shows its self awareness that the audience it serves has evolved or devolved, depending on your viewpoint, to the point where a more complex language has to be developed in order to understand the college crowd these days.

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Shame on you, Strongbow and Patrick Stewart

I want you to take a look at the video that I have posted above.

Now let’s take a pop quiz.

What’s wrong with this ad?

a. Strongbow “fired” Patrick Stewart as their ad spokesman

b. Strongbow said that ice is their main selling point

c. Their tagline is “Bestest over ice”

If you answered “C”, the you are correct. This is a grammatically incorrect sentence, and whether or not Strongbow ironically put it there, it’s going to stick in any Grammar Nazi’s craw. Now granted, in the game of advertising, your main focus isn’t on being grammatically correct, but still, the art of selling a product shouldn’t have to rely on inventing a word to make it seem better than Angry Orchard. Could Strongbow have used a term that would have made their ad more grammatically appealing, like Outstanding, or Excellent? They could have, but It probably wouldn’t have been as catchy as “Bestest”.

Now granted, Strongbow isn’t the first brand to utilize grammatical errors to sell a product. Look at Apple’s famous “Think Different” ad campaign. We all get that Steve Jobs is supposed to be our grand savior, the man who presented us with an alternative to Microsoft, but really, this ad campaign is awful, awkward, and just doesn’t work grammatically. What’s even more funny is the fact that the Simpsons handwaved it in an episode a few years back.

Think Differently, indeed.

So the next time you watch and ad campaign, be sure to keep an eye on the grammar that goes into the slogan. I can tell you right now, I’m definitely not going to be buying Strongbow anytime soon.

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The Apostrophe Catastrophe

Although I’ve seen both this logo and this hat, I needed an excuse to point out the mistake, especially since I saw both these logos on this morning’s MLB Network presentation of Quick Pitch.
One of the things that I have learned to find annoying is the misuse of the apostrophe, and no case is better than these two. The Oakland Athletics are often referred to as the Oakland A’s. Similarly, the Baltimore Orioles are sometimes referred to as the O’s, and even have an alternate cap.
Now, if interpreted literally, it makes it seem as if both the A and the O on these logos are possessive as in the A’s fans or the O’s fans. But try and put those in a sentence like this:
The A’s and the O’s played against each other today.
If we are interpreting this literally, it’s a very confusing sentence. Both possessive terms make for something that doesn’t make any sense. Now, it’s not to say that the apostrophe is completely inappropriate, as you could use it in the following way and it would be correct:
The A’s starter Barry Zito retired O’s first baseman Chris Davis on a popup to end the inning.
However, the more appropriate way to use the nicknames of the Athletics and the Orioles is this: As and Os
So before you consider buying your next Oakland Athletics or Baltimore Orioles hat, be advised that you’re supporting the desecration of the apostrophe.
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