I'm writing a one-act (20-minute) satire for an upcoming festival. It is about people who butcher the English language and the detectives whose job it is to catch the perpetrators. I'm trying to find actual grammatical errors that made it to print in newspapers, magazines, etc. They need to be errors that would be obvious when heard. For example "whose/who's" mistakes would not work in the play. If anyone comes across any in the next 10 days or so, please let me know or send me a link.
Personal story, but maybe usable... Years ago I worked with a guy who I think must have had terminal malapropism. The wrong word consistently came out of his mouth. Like the time he wanted to express dismay that some information had gotten out before it was ready and in a meeting he noted that "Now the monkey's out of the box."
The apex of verbal whoopsies for this guy was when, in yet another meeting, he was talking about how the company needed an IT person who was versed in both Windows and Unix environments. And he explained that what we were looking for was "a bipolar systems administrator."
About two years ago I got hired to do some acting in a well-known "multi-media artist's" movie short. She had had more than several books published about her work and after reading through some of the books I told her, "I find your art very interesting. But it is the people who write about your art I realize I just can't stand."
Now, here is to me, the sad thing: she didn't get what I was saying. Then I realized she has to deal with these people all the time, so she speaks the language, too. Though not around me when I was working, as she knew that I did not speak the jargon and was not about to learn it or pretend to. I believe this is one reason why art of any kind gets so cut off - often purposely so - from the population. I love to see little kids in museums and their reactions to art. It is so pure.
Today I saw this article:
"Work in the Whitney Biennial either interrogates and problematizes, or it references while being transgressive. The problem is not the art, it’s the writing..." more»
My personal favorite, and I've seen this in print as well as having heard it quite a bit...
Using the word "an" with "historic." As in, "The mayor came out to what should be an historic occasion." I remember learning way back in first grade (if not earlier) that you only use "an" in front of vowel sounds. And since the H in historic is not silent, I don't see why so many people get this wrong.
Sorry for my need to rant on that. But I felt the need to make my case since there are probably a lot of people who think I'm wrong on this one.
Actually, I use "an historic" with full knowledge of the "a" and "an" rule. All rules have exceptions. The reason I choose to say, and write, "an historic" is because of the uncomfortable sound "a historic" makes on my ear. Were the accent on the word "historic" on the first syllable instead of the second I might do otherwise. I certainly don't think you are wrong--but then I don't think I am either. And if some dare accuse me of it--I don't give a fuck, I've made a conscious and deliberate choice. (Since there seems to be a debate about the use of the word "fuck" on other threads, I thought I'd throw in my four letters. When James Lipton asks me my favorite word, that will be it.) ;-)
I also went into a national chain drugstore in a very "North Shore" suburb and saw under one of the printed aisle markers "Cards/Stationary," I told the manager I was happy the aisle was not "going anywhere?" They did not get it. Then I explained. they thought I was kind of eccentrically kooky.
We do what we can, right?
A personal story:
My son-in-law got a lucrative job transfer from a major city to Northwest Indiana. After a year and a half, he left the job, sold the house at a ten thousand dollar loss because of the way people there obliterated the Grammar and construction of the English language drove him nuts. This was from all levels of society there. He got to the point where he was actually correcting their English while in public places. (He has a way that makes it good-natured and you find yourself laughing at yourself. He is not offensive in any way.) He just said to himself, "I can't have my kids educated in this environment. I'm out of here."
Now, this is the nicest guy I have ever met (though he is a Republican - not a whacko one) and he is as responsible and charming and quick-witted and could give any show business comedian a run for their money. A devoted imaginative husband, devoted inventive and fun father of three young adorable kids. Just a funny, charming, talented, caring human being. If you ever want something difficult or easy done, you give it to him. No B.S. He'll make the trip enjoyable and will get it down to perfection. He actually literally saved my life last year. (He got a great Christmas present!) He's the type of guy you want around when the chips are down and all odds are against you, as well as the type of guy you want around when things are just a helluva lot of frivolous fun. I call him "The Go-To" guy. He also makes a shit load of honest money and is putting it all by for his kids and their college and his and wife's retirement and has not taken a vacation in three years because of that. He even builds his own additions on his house and re-does his own kitchens!! (Sorry to the women - again, he is already taken!)
God bless the language police. And his defense of it. We are all on the "Front Lines."