Monday, August 9, 2010

Why didn't I think of that?

Y comes home almost every day complaining about how so and so in his class has never heard of [insert historical political figure here]. I usually nod, agree with him, head straight for Wikipedia, and spend the rest of the night feeling stupid at my lack of knowledge, so humor me for a minute while I pretend like I'm smart:

Anyone who knows me can vouch for my tendency to get bossy when it comes to grammar. It's a random habit -- I'm not really a perfectionist in any other aspects, but stick an apostrophe where it doesn't belong or misuse a homophone and you will most definitely hear about it from me.

And him.

That sounded menacing, right? Right? Well... it's not exactly true. Unless I'm close to you, I won't point out your mistake. I'll probably just post about it on my blog. To be honest, there isn't enough time in the day to rectify all of the spelling and grammar errors on signs and buildings around here. While in DC, staying on Georgetown's campus, I climbed onto a campus bus and saw a sign that said something like this:

To ensure your safety, please watch your step as you climb aboard the bus.

My heart almost stopped -- not only was the sign written in a complete sentence, the ensure/insure homophone had been used correctly! A sign at home (on our not-quite-as-prestigious-as-Georgetown campus) trying to convey the same message might have looked like this:

watch "STEP" on bus

Don't even get me started on the random quotation marks. Y snapped this picture the other day, just because he knew it would make me mad. So romantic:

The reason I bring this up: I just found an article about a guy who traveled around the United States correcting errors on signs, (apparently, he didn't find an excess of mistakes in any one part of the country, which I find hard to believe) and wrote a book about his adventure. I have three thoughts on this:

A) That is awesome.
B) Why didn't I think of that?
C) They'll give
anyone a book deal these days, won't they?

Anyone else out there have a pet peeve that they get overly sensitive about? My other pet peeve is the sound of someone eating a banana. GROSS.


  1. I don't really do that. But I'll "let" you take "your" poetic license.

  2. Okay, fine. It's a joint effort between you and your dad.

  3. It's still a mystery to me how you didn't know how Trotsky died.

  4. I read about that guy once. He's my hero! He has inspired me to do my part around my city in wiping away stray apostrophes on chalkboard menus. I've also lately taken up writing scathing anonymous comments on wedding blogs and Facebook business pages.
    p.s. Yay for Scholarly Ike!!!

  5. As an adviser to the school newspaper, it drove me nuts how so many college students didn't know proper grammar. I'm talking forming complete sentences, using the possessive form of a word correctly, knowing the difference between their/they're/there, etc. I was embarrassed for them.

  6. Do you remember the paper recycling bins/boxes on campus? They were sponsored by "Student Goverment". That one always bothered me.

  7. Whoa, sorry I have been MIA on commenting on this. I'm sure you thought I was dead in a ditch somewhere, right? I agree about me not being a perfectionist in other arenas either! I also absolutely despise inappropriate quotation marks. Case in point: when I lived in Hattiesburg, the police cars said "to protect and serve." Sooooo, are you NOT here to protect and serve? I don't get it.

  8. They will protect and serve, just in a nebulous, possibly sarcastic fashion.

  9. I'm glad I'm not the only grammar nerd!!

    Ange, I can't believe I never noticed that! That would have driven me crazy!

    Sarah, I WAS worried about you. If it wasn't for the Pete Campbell link, I might have had to put out an amber alert or something. I'm guessing you posted posted the NPR link to this guy's book on my wall before you read this... blog ESP?