Friday Follies #115 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

Great to see you made it back here, FF fans. The Grammar Cop has found several mistakes and is ready to unleash them for your eyes only!

  1. “Occasional movements are fine, but try to give your stylist a warning before you sneeze, itch your nose, or do anything else that might throw them off.”
  2. “…and as has become de riguer here, truth, equity and respect for civil rights be damned.”
  3. “Incumbent with that honour are obligations.” And a bonus: “The list is long and saddening of the species whose survival looks grim.”


The corrections:

  1. No. One does not “itch” one’s nose. One scratches one’s nose. Or back. Or chin. Or whatever. One scratches one’s nose, back, chin or whatever because it itches. We scratch an itch.
  2. This sentence has two glaring errors – well, glaring to the Grammar Cop’s eyes. But besides those, it has a very awkward structure which we can easily fix. First, “de riguer” is spelled wrong. The writer thought he’d show off his French knowledge, but unfortunately he left out a letter. It’s de rigueur, and it means as a rule or usually. (By the way, since it’s not English, it should be in Italics.) Second, “equity” is not the correct word in this context. “Equity” refers to an investment, such as equity in a house: if you’ve paid off $50,000 of the total, say, then you have $50,000 equity in the house. The word he meant to use is, I’m sure, related to the state of being equitable. But since I abhor the noun form (as the dictionary has it: equitableness), I would use fairness here. Lastly, the structure: I would not start with “And as has become de rigueur here, truth…” I would reword this part of the poor sentence completely like this: …As usual, truth, fairness and respect for civil rights be damned. (And de rigueur be damned! 😉 )
  3. “Incumbent” is not used correctly. We don’t say “incumbent with.” It should be incumbent on (or upon) (someone). So the sentence would have to be rewritten to include a person upon whom the honour is incumbent! Such as: Incumbent upon the honouree are obligations. Note that this is rather formal language. More colloquially, we could say Along with the honour are obligations. A bonus error brings up the rear. That word “saddening” – it’s horrible! Yet it’s in the dictionary, to which I say, “So what! It’s awful; what’s wrong with simply sad? Let’s rewrite!” My edit looks like this: The list of species whose survival looks grim is a long and sad one. Alternatively you could leave out the and, and place a comma after long instead.

Whew! I’d like to throw the writers of these abominations someplace where English language courses are mandated. (Mind you, then Friday Follies would have no grist for the mill, so to speak. So never mind; carry on. 😀 See you next week!)

7 thoughts on “Friday Follies #115 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

  1. 1) Occasional movements at the beauty parlour? Oh s***!

    2) Reading Friday Follies should be de rigor for publication editors bored stiff from not caring!

    3) Let’s wrap it all up in a bow with a withering cummerbund.

    😀 😀 😀


  2. I’m not sure education will help many people with grammar. I think most people write the way they speak, and they don’t care to learn the fine points. I was blessed in having parents who spoke well, and I loved English classes. Despite that, I still make mistakes. You’ll ALWAYS have a job, Grammar Cop.

    Liked by 1 person

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