Friday Follies #157 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

TGIF, Friday Follies followers! The Grammar Cop welcomes you to another week’s worth of beastly boo-boos.

  1. “Case in point: Montreal construction foreman Martin *****, who’s story may resonate with many of you or people you know.”
  2. “USA Gymnastics Head Out After less Than A Week As Interim President”
  3. “The deadly limousine crash in upstate New York this month left in its wake mourning families, young orphans and officials trying to piece together what went wrong.”



The corrections:

  1. Once again, Follyites: the possessive form of who is whose. (“Who’s” is a contraction of who is.) So, in the given piece it should say: …whose story may resonate with…
  2. This headline really had me puzzled. My brain interpreted it as: the USA gymnasts were heading out after less than a week as… Interim President??? …To which I thought: Huh? I only understood it after reading the sentence that followed in the original paragraph: “Mary Bono was met with swift criticism after a tweet surfaced of her protesting Nike over its partnership with Colin Kaepernick.” Then I realized, Oh! “The head of USA gymnastics is out, after less than…”  My confusion had been twofold: 1) I had misread “gymnastics” as gymnasts; and 2) I had read “head out” as the verb phrase meaning to leave. Instead, the word “head” actually referred to the leader or boss (Mary Bono), and the word “out” meant she was now gone, i.e. fired! This is a good example of unclear writing, common in headlines where one needs to be short and precise. There are better ways to express the same idea. I’m sure you can think of some of them! 😁
  3. I’m very sad about this tragic story. But the Grammar Cop in me just can’t resist pointing out how perfectly it exemplifies the need for the serial (Oxford) comma. The way it looks now, it seems as if both the orphans and the officials are trying to “piece together what went wrong.” Of course that is not the case. Therefore we need to add a comma (called a serial or Oxford comma) after “young orphans” to separate them from the officials. It’s called a serial comma because it comes right after a serial list of items, and before the “and.” (The “Oxford” name is because it is “part of the house style of Oxford University Press,” according to Wikipedia.)

Are you asleep yet? 😁 I hope not! Friday Follies hopes to transfer the Grammar Cop’s great gobs of genius to you, dear readers. If you’re asleep, that would be somewhat counterproductive. In any case, have a great weekend and see you next week!



14 thoughts on “Friday Follies #157 – Making Grammar Great Again, One Hyphen at a Time

  1. I wasn’t asleep, so I caught all the errors. I did something new today. I used the cursor to highlight the mistakes, making me really attentive while reading the examples. This is such a good exercise for me. Thank you for your public service.

    Liked by 1 person

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