Friday Follies #146 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

The Grammar Cop is still SHH (shaking her head) at some of this week’s goofs. They deserve a mighty eye roll.

Actually, you know what? Let’s look at all these mistakes found in ONE SHORT REVIEW (in a weekly local rag). You can insert an eye roll here, in advance. Join me, will you? Three, two, one: 🙄

  1. “All of a sudden the spot lights shinned on the entrance and there Shania was in a glitter dress and cowboy hat.”
  2. “Shania made her way through the crowd with security all around her, making sure to wave at everyone. As she made her way on to the stage she yelled out…”
  3. “The 52 year old Country Super Star sounded amazing.”
  4. “…while she sang, “Your Still the One!”
  5. “A surprise to the fans was WWE Superstar wrestler Kevin Owens was in the house and was waving a sign that said…”
  6. “Here is the complete lists of hits…”


And now the corrections of these miserable excuses for the English language:

  1. Let’s go through this. No adult says “all of a sudden.” Well, no literate adult. There’s a perfectly good word we use instead: suddenly. Next: “spot lights”? No, spotlights is one word. And next: “shinned”? Did she climb up a rope to the roof of the venue? Nope. The intended word was shined. Only one problem now. It should be shone. This has been discussed before in Friday Follies; see note below from my favourite online dictionary.* Let’s see… we’re only half-way through this darn sentence. Okay, if you don’t mind “glitter dress” I guess I can stand it. (I would’ve used sparkly.)
  2. Here we’ve got “made” (or “make”) three times in very close proximity. See, this is what a darn thesaurus is for. Synonyms, people. Use ’em! Also: “on to” the stage? I prefer onto.
  3. Hyphen-o-phobia: It should be 52-year-old…  And what’s with “Country Super Star”? Ay yi. First of all, no capitals are needed at all. Second, superstar is one word.
  4. “Your” should be you’re. (It’s a contraction of you are.)  One second please. (Argghh!) Okay, that’s better.
  5. Do you see “was” three times in this so-called sentence? Here, let’s just fix the whole darn thing: The fans were surprised by WWE superstar wrestler Kevin Owens, who was in the house, waving a sign that said…
  6. Verb non-agreement: the verb form “is” is third person singular, as in “it is.” You cannot have plural items following it, as the writer has it. You must correct it in one of two ways, either Here is the complete list OR Here are the complete lists. You must always make the verb agree with the subject.

I am so tempted to apply for this “writer’s” job. But… he’s probably a Super Star in his family, and is saving his money to buy his little daughter a glitter dress. I will not stand in his or her spot light.


*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.




10 thoughts on “Friday Follies #146 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

  1. I spotted nearly all the mistakes, so you’ve definitely been a good influence on me. I’m wondering about “all of a sudden”. I can almost hear myself saying it. It sounds natural. I have no idea if I would write it. Could it be Southern speech???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Ill-literacy” – haha, I love it!
      No it’s a real job. Can you imagine? The publisher doesn’t care, apparently. I believe he only cares about the ads (many of which have mistakes in them, too)!

      Liked by 1 person

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