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Parenthetical plural(s)

Q: Which of these sentences is correct? (1) “Select ‘yes’ if you plan on bringing guest(s) in addition to the one listed above.” (2) “Select ‘yes’ if you plan on bringing a guest(s) in addition to the one listed above.” A: Neither #1 nor #2 works, we’re sorry to say. There’s no graceful way to... ? Read More: Parenthetical plural(s)

Skype for Business Contact’s

Even the big corporations can do it. The latest shiny software from Microsoft has an inappropriate apostrophe in the Quick Tips (Thanks, Stuart Ridout!)

Comprised, revised

Q: What’s all the upset over “comprised of”? I understand that a software engineer has purged Wikipedia 47,000 times regarding this usage. What is the problem? A: In our opinion, the Wikipedian is fighting a losing battle. Increasingly, people are coming to feel as you do about this usage: “What’s all the upset?” The traditional... ? Read More: Comprised, revised

Editing the Editors

An “Open Book” interview with Patricia T. O’Conner in the New York Times Book Review By JOHN WILLIAMS This week, one grammar guru writes about another, as Patricia T. O’Conner reviews Mary Norris’s “Between You & Me.” Norris has been a copy editor for more than 30 years at The New... ? Read More: Editing the Editors

Consider the Comma

From the New York Times Book Review By PATRICIA T. O’CONNER Copy editors are a peculiar species (I’ve been one myself, and at the very publication you are now reading). But those at The New Yorker are something else entirely, a species nova that mutated into existence in 1925 and would hurl itself... ? Read More: Consider the Comma

All fire’d up

Blaze Pizza’s slogan! Good pizza, bad logo. (Thanks, Claudia!)

“Fast” times

Q: I may be missing a whole category of similar words, but “fast” is the only verb I can think of that requires NOT doing something in order to be doing it. Do you know of any others? AIt’s also odd that something moving quickly is “fast” while something fixed in place is “fast” too–utterly... ? Read More: “Fast” times

Inside “outside”

Q: My current grammar bête noir is the American insistence on “of” after “outside.” I realize you are on the other side of the pond, but please be neutral. Which is more elegant—“outside the hotel” or “outside of the hotel”? Surely not two prepositions in tandem? A: OK, we think “outside the hotel” is more... ? Read More: Inside “outside”

Huevo Makes Some Great Rancheros!

A menu in Louisiana, probably typed up by someone who doesn’t know a single bit of Spanish… (Thanks, Simone!)

World Champion’s

Found in a woodworking shop. “Dishe’s” is particularly awesome. (Thanks, Jeremy Holler!)

Even on a UK Government website!

FAQ’s is common – and unnecessary. What’s wrong with just FAQ? Now the ‘s has contaminated the full phrase! (Thanks, PhilB!)

A Magical Gift-Machine, Perhaps?

Something that Santa owns gives out gifts to good girls and boys. This is on a convenience store in Savannah, GA. (Thanks, Alice!)

When did Turkey get his own phone number?

Had to pull over and circle back to get a photo of this abuse. (Thanks, Scott Browne!)

You can’t have it both ways

I always find it hilarious when someone inconsistently applies an apostrophe. Take this sign from Bearskin Neck in Rockport, Massachusetts, for example. Why did the sign maker add an apostrophe and an S to “salad” and “gyro” but not “burgers” and “corn dogs”? (Thanks, Jennifer Estabrooks!)

Your/You’re Confusion: Smile!

“Professional” sticker on shop window at local shops January 2015. (Thanks, Tim Jensen!)

Psychic Visions

One line: two errors The abused hyphen between “walk” and “in’s” functions neither as a hyphen nor a dash. It’s more like a “limbo hyphen.” Meanwhile, the apostrophe simply feels like the Psy Chic is simply piling on. Location: New York City, Dec. 2014 (Thanks, Jim V!)

An existential question

Q: What exactly does “existential” mean when used to modify such nouns as “threat” and “crisis”? A: On a literal level, the adjective “existential” means “of or pertaining to existence,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. So, for example, an “existential threat” would be a threat to existence—that is, to life. Show More Summary

LINGUIST list fund drive

A message from some of the Wisconsin linguists … Folks, Most of you know that LINGUIST is now doing their annual fund drive. For five years, we had the privilege of editing book reviews for LINGUIST and we know very well how much time...Show More Summary

Iffen ya brung a gun

Q: A Vivian Maier image from Chicago in the 1950s shows a sign with this message: ‘IFEN YA’ BRUNG A GUN LEAVE IT OUTSIDE THE DOOR ’CAUSE SHOOTIN’ OUR FRIENDS JUST MAKES US SORE! Can you explain ’IFEN? It looks like a contraction but I can’t think what’s missing. A: The Dictionary of American Regional... ? Read More: Iffen ya brung a gun

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