Friday Follies #78: 2 mistakes that make me go “Arghhh” – and 2 bits of perfection!

Hi again, Friday Follie-ites. Today marks a first for the Grammar Cop. Besides presenting the usual besmirched boo-boos of the week, she is actually going to laud a couple of examples of correct grammar… a rarity!

First the errors:

  1. NYTIMES.COM: “The 30s isn’t the only era with lessons to teach us.”
  2. THE SUBURBAN: “Farkas said in an interview, “Its important to learn about…”

The corrections:

  1. The “30s” is missing an apostrophe, and it should go in front of the “3.” Note that it should look the same as a closing single quote, not an opening single quote. Like this: The ’30s isn’t the only era…  Don’t worry about the apparently plural ’30s taking a singular verb form, isn’t. The ’30s is a decade. So the verb isn’t is singular since it follows the 1930s decade. Clear as mud? 😉
  2. This is one of my favourite mistakes. NOT. We see it everywhere. In this example, I doubt that Mr. Farkas said that, because it would have been ungrammatical. “Its” is possessive, and is only used for something belonging to something else: The dog chewed its bone. The painting lost its lustre. The chair lost one of its legs. (Ouch!)  But in Mr. Farkas’s quote, he must’ve said It’s, which is a contraction for It is. (Yes, yes, I know we can’t hear the difference, but I’m just trying to inject a little humour here. Very little. 😉 )

Now here’s something great: a couple of wonderful examples of compound adjectives, complete with their gorgeous hyphens:

  • “Smaller class sizes for a student-focused environment.”
  • “Classroom theory and hands-on training”

These are both from the same ad for a vocational college. I hope you can appreciate these stupendous specimens! Student-focused environment and hands-on training are a sight for these sore eyes, because all too often, the hyphens in such constructions are AWOL. The Grammar Cop has addressed this infraction many times. Let us rejoice that here the constructions are used flawlessly.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Follies! Join me next week, when – who knows – we might feature yet another perfect example of good grammar. But I’m not holding my breath.

One thought on “Friday Follies #78: 2 mistakes that make me go “Arghhh” – and 2 bits of perfection!

  1. Yes, apostrophe’s catastrophe’s are everywhere! Its enough to drive one crazy! 😀

    (I wish I had a penny for every time I’ve seen 30’s, CD’s, tv’s on sale, etc. I could retire to my own private island! )

    Kudos to the college for getting right! 🙂


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