Friday Follies #152 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

Hi again, FFers! Welcome back to another edition of Friday Follies, in which the Grammar Cop shares with you her favourite (least favourite?) bloopers of the week.

  1. “Since finding out I have PTSD, which I genuinely didn’t know I had before I started this essay, I’ve been able to process the impact the past five years has had on my life and career in a much calmer way.”
  2. “A source whom can only be identified as a ‘neutral’ Montgomery County Court official, claims a tape played in court … was either doctored or partly erased…”
  3. “With the newer boards, the technology is better and it enables us to use less words and more pictograms.”


The corrections:

  1. It should say: the past five years have had on my life. Why? Because the subject of the verb “have had” is “years,” which is plural. Therefore the verb has to be plural to agree with it: the past five years have had… To those who think the subject is the singular noun, “impact”:  No. The confusion arises because of a missing word, “that.” The sentence should more clearly read: to process the impact that the past five years have had on my life. Now we can see that the word that introduces a clause. The subject of this clause is years, and the verb have had in this clause must agree with years. If you are still doubtful, see me after class. 😉
  2. “Whom” is incorrect; it should be who. The sentence should read: A source who can only be identified as… Who is the subject of the verb can be. (Whom is the object form which would be wrong here. It’s not the object of anything.)
  3. The word “less” is incorrect here; it should say fewer words. We use less for amounts, e.g. less cake, less money. We use fewer for items that are countable, e.g. fewer people, fewer twenty-dollar bills. (I can relate to the latter.)

And a bonus new feature (every week or so) from now on:


At end of article: “Steve Pinkis is vice-president of Mainstreet Research.” So what’s the problem? His name is Steve Pinkus, as shown a few lines earlier in the byline, By Steve Pinkus! 😣 Do you blame Steve if he’s a tad annoyed?

13 thoughts on “Friday Follies #152 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

  1. I resonated with number three today. Some wonderful English teacher imprinted the rules for less and fewer in my brain. The down side is that I am constantly correcting speakers and writers in my head. The grandsons don’t roll their eyes, but I correct them on this constantly. I doubt they will ever get the hang of it. *sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Let us remember the old adage, though… “nobody’s perfect.” What you can impress upon them, however, is that people might think they’re dumb if they don’t speak or write proper English. Maybe they’ll care about *that*! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        2. We still have no effects of the hurricane. John’s sister near Charleston, SC, said the airport reopened at noon. If they hadn’t seen a weather forecast, they would have thought they had a small coastal storm.

          Liked by 1 person

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