Friday Follies #106 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

Welcome back to the Grammar Cop’s lair, FF fans! More muddled mistakes await your perusal. This week they’re all from a local tabloid, Montreal Times, giving the gaffe-prone Suburban a little competition.

[Note: every one of these picks contains multiple errors!]

  1. “This lead to a two million-copy print run of the book, and became the most pre-ordered book in the near 200-year history of HarperCollins.”
  2. “…an America that is gradually realizing that the Jim Crow ways of the Deep South are fading away, and is making way for the civil rights movement…”
  3. “It sort-of makes you understand the raison-d’etre of Lee’s publisher…”



And the corrections:

  1. First, “lead” is not how the past tense of lead is spelled. It should be led. This has been pointed out several times in previous FF posts, which the bumbling writer in question obviously didn’t read. 😉  Next: “two million-copy print run” – almost. There should also be a hyphen between the first two words of the phrase, like this: two-million-copy print run. The phrase describes the “print run.” Similarly, “near 200-year history” should be near-200-year history.
  2. The first thing you may notice in this sentence, as I did – it practically hit me in the face – is the annoying repetition of the word “way”:
    Jim Crow ways
    fading away
    making way
    The writer needs to discover what a thesaurus is for!
    Next is the problem of “is making way for…”   The singular verb “is” doesn’t agree with its subject, which is the plural “Jim Crow ways.” Either the verb must be made plural (are) to agree with its subject, or the subject has to be made singular (Jim Crow way). Lastly, “civil rights movement” should be civil-rights movement, to correct yet another example of what I call hyphen-o-phobia.
  3. See that “sort-of”? Yuck! NO hyphens are called for here. Also, a colloquial, slangy expression like sort of doesn’t belong in a formal book review in a newspaper. Okay, maybe in a high-school paper. And the last boo-boo is… rather unfair to anyone who isn’t familiar with French! Apologies to (most) Americans! The problem is a missing accent on the first “e” of raison-d’être. It’s called, in French, an accent circonflex. But you can just call it what many people do: a little hat. 😀

So many infractions lately! Monday is Thanksgiving here in Canada. Perhaps we will be thankful for fewer grammar glitches in the upcoming week? On the other hand, the Grammar Cop needs material for FF. So… hmm…


13 thoughts on “Friday Follies #106 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

  1. 1-This leds me to believe that the partially-hyphenated writer has not red the Friday Follies.

    2- Make ways for another case of hyphen-o-phobia; a condition prevalent in the Thesaurus, a dinosaur from the Jurassic period.

    3-Seriously, sort of? Sacré bleu! Henri is appalled!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1. “partially-hyphenated” – Upon quick viewing, I saw this as “partially hydrogenated”! That too, I say! 😀 (BTW: arcane rule – NO hyphen, if the first word of the compound adjective ends in -ly!)
      2. Love it!!
      3. Tell Henri: “Moi aussi, Henri! moi aussi!!”

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Luanne! Good! I sheepishly admit that I was focusing so much on the *grammar* that I neglected to look at the *meaning* (or lack thereof!) I think perhaps an easy fix would be just to delete the words “and is”… Still not a great sentence, though. This writer’s entire piece should have been edited in a *major* way. It was obvious no one looked at it; it was just slapped into the paper’s template as is. Booo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, I do get that. The trees and branches and leaves are great, but so is the whole forest and yet it all depends on where you stand. That so-called sentence is a disaster. They should be ashamed of themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

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