Friday Follies #111 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

Welcome back to another fun-filled extravaganza of errors, FF fans! Let us all sneer at the gaffes collected by the (almost) infallible Grammar Cop!

  1. CHICAGO.SUNTIMES.COM: “Bill Cosby was outed as a sexual predator in 2014, but a lot of performers were loathe to criticize the iconic TV star.”
  2. THE SUBURBAN: “How can I make a family dinner without becoming a short order cook?”
  3. MONTREALGAZETTE.COM: “Any time allegations of sexually predatory behaviour by a well-known personality make headlines, there’s…”


The corrections:

  1. The correct word here is loath, not “loathe.” Loath is an adjective meaning “reluctant” or “unwilling.” (The verb “to loathe” means “to despise.” Although we may despise Bill Cosby, it’s the other word – the adjective – that’s needed in this sentence!) Ten points off if you said a lot of performers should be “alot of performers”! A lot is a phrase consisting of two separate words. How often do I see the mistake of glomming them together? Too often!
  2. Here’s just one example of the rampant hyphen-o-phobia at this local weekly newspaper: “short order cook” should be short-order cook.
  3. When I first read this sentence, it looked as though it was saying: “Any time allegations of…”  I wondered what on earth a “time allegation” was. And: since when do “time allegations” make headlines”? And: what does that even mean?!  But after reading it several times, I finally saw the intended meaning, which actually is: Whenever allegations of sexually predatory behaviour…   I have to say I like my version better. 😀 Seriously, it’s always a good idea to read back what you’ve written before hitting SEND or POST, whether it’s for a newspaper article or just a comment on social media. You might catch a typo or an unintended meaning.

The Grammar Cop is off to get an early start on next week’s citations of bad language boo-boos. Have a great week, y’all! 😀

8 thoughts on “Friday Follies #111 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

  1. Is ‘alot’ used and taught in Canada? During the 90’s it was phased out in American English classes. I learned to use ‘alot’ and then the following year learned ‘NO, IT’S NOT CORRECT!’.
    It wasn’t until after college I learned the ‘alot’ vs. ‘a lot’ history.


    1. Writing “a lot” together as one word is not correct and has NEVER been correct. Nor, I fearlessly predict, will it EVER be correct. If you were ever taught to use “alot” then your teachers were illiterate. Even my autocorrect on my phone wants to insist on writing it as two words just now; I had to fight with it! 😂


  2. 1-Going on record to say I am not loath to say I loathe all sexual predators.
    2-The answer to this question is go out to eat or order take-away. And don’t forget the hyphen!
    3-I agree; your version is much better! And I prefer time travel to time allegations. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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