Friday Follies #136 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

This week the Grammar Cop’s red pencil was very busy – she found no fewer than 11 (ELEVEN!) boo-boos in one full-page ad, in a tabloid-size newspaper. Argh!

Let’s see if you can find them (and correct them)!

  1. “…the new pill contains key ingredients that keeps the bladder from releasing voluntarily, which reduces accidents and…” [TWO ERRORS HERE]
  2. “The active ingredients in UriVarx® comes from a patented formula.”
  3. “…certain hormonal changes in the body cause these muscles to shrink and become lose.”
  4. “…I’m no longer living in constant fear of finding a bathroom.”
  5. “The double blind, placebo control study took place…”
  6. “Additionally, at the end of clinical trial and after seeing the results, …”
  7. “The clinical findings are incredible, but people still wonder if it will really work” explains Dr. Bassam Damaj. “It’s normal … amazing product.”
  8. “However, is approved by Health Canada.”
  9. “This is caused by hormonal changes in the body that causes the muscles to…”
  10. “When they become too small and weak, they cannot seal your bladder shut, which….   It also prevents your…”


Corrections & explanations:

  1. The verb “keeps” is incorrectly written in the third-person singular, whereas it should be in the plural form, keep, since its subject is the plural noun, “ingredients.”
    The second error here is a tad more subtle. Did you catch that “voluntarily”? It does not make sense in the meaning of the sentence. (If the pill kept you from urinating “voluntarily,” you’d be in big trouble, wouldn’t you?!) The word should be involuntarily.
  2. Another verb that doesn’t agree with its subject: It shouldn’t be “comes,” it should say come, the plural form, to agree with the plural noun “ingredients.”
  3. “…become lose”? Really? Do they become lost? The desired word here is loose, (the opposite of tight). (Loose rhymes with – and is spelled like – caboose.)
  4. The mistake here is similar to “voluntarily” in #1 above. The person is not “in constant fear of finding a bathroom.” Rather, s/he is afraid of not finding a bathroom.
  5. Hyphen-o-phobia reigns supreme. These are two compound adjectives, so it should read: The double-blind, placebo-controlled study… Note also that the phrase is actually placebo-controlled, with the -ed ending.
  6. There is a missing word the before “clinical.” Proofreader needed!
  7. You’ll probably never catch this error, since you haven’t seen the entire full-page ad. But I will tell you that nowhere in the ad does it ever mention who on earth this “Dr.” is, i.e., what institution he works for, what credentials he has, where he’s from, etc. Nada. He’s a mystery man! (Or woman!) So much for his name and the “Dr.” honorific, probably meant to boost credibility of the product. Guess what – it doesn’t!
  8. The word it is missing, before the verb “is.” Where’s that danged proofreader?
  9. Again we see a verb-agreement problem. The verb “causes” (before “the muscles”) should be cause, to agree with its plural subject, “changes,” which “that” refers to. Don’t think about it too hard; you’ll get a headache. 😀
  10. Okay, this one’s hard to spot. Clue: it’s not in the first sentence. IT is in the second, however! 😀 The first sentence refers to the muscles using the plural pronoun, “they” – which appears twice, in fact. But then the very next sentence starts with It. Presumably the It is referring to the musculature that has weakened, but we shouldn’t have to guess. It should be clear what It refers to – and it should be used only if its preceding noun or pronoun (its antecedent) is singular. In this case, the antecedent is the plural pronoun “they.” So “they” – not “it” – must be used in the following sentence as well.

If this is clear as mud, I recommend a nice, long hot shower. It will clear your tired brain, sinuses… and muscles? 😀 See you May 25th!



14 thoughts on “Friday Follies #136 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

  1. I did good/well on this quiz … if they were going to spend that much money to take out a whole-page ad, maybe a second eye would have been handy, or a proofreader. Hmmm. Sometimes you do miss things – I have seen work product that we labored on for days, weeks, etc. and you’ll give it a fresh eye and see a glaring error. This many errors is unconscionable.

    Liked by 1 person

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