Friday Follies #139 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

This week’s batch o’ boo-boos includes a most unfortunate typo. Normally the Grammar Cop doesn’t hand out citations for such minor errors, which we all make from time to time. But the one you’ll see below is a holy horror of a slip.

  1. “Beside stopping to use cars completely and leaving the cash registers at the gas stations on empty instead – how can consumers make the province take action?”
  2. “… with his live-in lover, the leather-clad Cuirette (Davide Chiazzese, who shined in the Centaur’s previous production…)”
  3. “This story was updated with new information that the first lady is expected to attend a White House reception Monday to honor God Star military families.”


The corrections:

  1. Here’s the problem: “Beside stopping to use cars completely.” Ugh. First of all, when we mean aside from, the word should be besides with an s at the end. Now, re “stopping to use cars,” what language is that? It isn’t English. We can rewrite the clause as: Besides not using cars at all… Better. Or: Aside from giving up driving completely. Best.
  2. The grammar cop’s siren went off at the sight of “shined.” In this sentence it should be shone. Here’s an explanation from my favourite online dictionary:
    “Usage Note: The verb shine has two different past tenses, shined and shone, and these forms also function as past participles. By tradition, the past tense and past participle shone is used when the verb is intransitive and means “to emit light, be luminous”: The full moon shone over the field. The form shined, on the other hand, is normally used when the verb is transitive and means “to direct (a beam of light)” or “to polish,” as in He shined his flashlight down the dark staircase or The butler shined the silver. In our 2008 survey, the Usage Panel found both forms acceptable in transitive literal use (shone/shined the light) and in figurative intransitive use (Carolyn always shined/shone at ribbon-cutting ceremonies), but a larger majority preferred the traditional usages (shined the light; shone at ceremonies) over the nontraditional ones, so maintaining the traditional distinction remains a sensible practice.
  3. The “God Star” must be a new medal approved by the evangelical conservative wing of the U.S. Congress. This is by far the Grammar Cop’s number-one terrible typo of the week. 🙂

TGIF, right folks? Enjoy your week-end!



17 thoughts on “Friday Follies #139 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

    1. Well as you probably figured out after a LOT of blood/sweat/tears, the writer meant “Aside from boycotting gasoline (by quitting driving), how else can people protest high gas prices?” But we shouldn’t have to struggle to understand a sentence in a newspaper!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure if that’s quite got it. I’m still wondering if the original writer meant additional or alternative to a boycott.

        I generally try to find one precise word instead of two, so I’m not sure replacing “besides” with “aside/apart from” is best. Also, either choice makes the word “else” redundant. I’d offer “Gasoline boycotts aside, how can people protest high gas prices?”

        Hm, maybe even better, “… how might the public protest…”

        Ok: “Without abandoning driving, how might the public protest high gas prices?”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sure!
          😁 Nice to see you here, Gary! I like all you’ve said, but stubbornly (albeit immodestly) stick by my own edits. We’ll see you at Délitheque soon!


  1. I got the first and last one, although I missed it was a blatant typo and could not figure out what a God Star was. And then, rue my eyes, they skimmed over the aside on the 2nd one, so I’m not sure I even fully read that part.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 1-Besides stopping reading completely, what can we do to send these writers to grammar school?
    2-Not a shoning example of grammar. (I almost stopped reading at leather-clad and missed the rest.)

    Liked by 1 person

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