Friday Follies #88 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

Hi, FF followers! Today’s mix of mistakes was gathered by your ever-vigilant Grammar Cop – me. Join me in perusing these abominable apparitions.

  1. HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: “If you have a firm grasp of whom you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that gets your goat.”
  2. MONTREAL TIMES: “Tickets are on sale starting this past Friday.”
  3. MONTREAL TIMES: “After having survived the Great Depression, a massive fire destroyed most of the hotel, leaving the restaurant and a few rooms intact…”



And now the corrections:

  1. My fellow grammarphiles will see immediately that “whom” should be who. (Mind you, perhaps my fellow grammarphiles don’t read my blog. They probably have their own cantankerous blogs. But I digress.) I’m sure the writer of the above gaffe thought he/she was being clever: Oh, it comes right after the preposition, “of” – therefore it’s the object of “of” and so must be “whom.”
    Nope. It is not the object of “of.” Rather, the entire clause, “who you are,” is the object of “of.” But it has to indeed be who, because who is the subject of the verb, are, here. Are you confuuuuused now? But at least you’ve learned something. Maybe. 😀
  2. Ouch. A bad muddle of tenses. “Tickets are” implies present tense. “On sale starting…” implies future tense. “This past Friday” obviously implies past tense. See what I mean? A much better way of saying this is: Tickets went on sale this past Friday.
  3. This is a perfect example of what is known as a dangling modifier – or as it’s often called, a dangling participle. The problem is that the way it’s written, the clause “After having survived the Great Depression” looks like it pertains to the massive fire, whereas of course it is meant to describe the hotel. The sentence should be rewritten, like this, for example: After having survived (or better: After surviving) the Great Depression, the hotel was destroyed by a massive fire, which left the restaurant and a few rooms intact…

Oh, what fun it is to fix grammar glitches! Do drop by again next Friday for another installment of follies on Friday, or as I so creatively call it, Friday Follies! 😉


21 thoughts on “Friday Follies #88 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

  1. I got 100%, Ellie! As a native speaker, I knew number one was wrong. I wish I’d followed through and said why before reading your explanation. I will remember the rule now. Number two should have confused everyone. Number three is something I’m always looking for. My sister-in-law, with advanced degrees in English, talked about this one. She was teaching ESL students and had a bunch of illustrations of misplaced modifiers. After reading a page of them, I was not likely to make the same mistake. Thanks for the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always happy to oblige, Anne! So here I am, with *no* advanced degree, but with (somehow) a practically photographic memory that kicked in during grammar lessons in elementary AND high school. I can’t imagine why, but now I’m glad… if only so I can put up a Friday Follies post every week now. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Not knowing whom I was after a bout of amnesia, I realised tickets could only be purchased last Friday if I used my time machine. I was then transported to the Great Depression whereupon I discovered a goat in my hotel room. The goat often dangled participles but at least he was a pleasant dinner companion. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I enjoyed that Ellie. As you know, my writing and grammar can be downright horrifying at times. When I read #2, My brain kept doing the “scratched record” imitation each time I came to “last Friday.” It was almost comical that someone would even miss that in proofing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! People don’t proof their work. Although it doesn’t help much if the writer doesn’t know the correct from the flawed. That’s why another pair of eyes can be so useful! But then I’d have nothing to feature to you folks in my Friday Follies! Did you catch all the f’s in that sentence? 😀


  4. Uh-Oh followed you here from the comment section of Anne M.’s blog. I know at time my posts are full of grammatical errors. I try to find them before I hit the post button, but still they slip by me. (or— but they still slip by me???) Oh my!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries! As I said, we ALL make typos, which is the main reason this Grammar Cop doesn’t single out any of them for discussion/condemnation. There are just too many out there. And hey, even the Grammar Cop herself makes one or two upon occasion. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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