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ArJewTino

“Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves." -- Marlene Dietrich

Why I’ll never watch What About Brian [sic]

There is a show on TV I will never watch. It has nothing to do with the promos or the actors or the production values. I have nothing against the show’s perceived quality or the network it runs on (ABC). There’s really only one reason I won’t watch What About Brian [sic], and that’s because it’s missing a question mark.

What IS it about Brian? Why are we interested in all that he’s about? I don’t know, and I never will, because the laws of punctuation seem to not apply to his show title. When it comes to punctuation and grammar, I can be a horse’s ass. I correct people when they speak, I mentally edit anything I read, and shout out opinions on how to improve the syntax on billboards. (Still, I’m not as bad as this guy.)

I cringe when someone says his “head LITERALLY exploded” or when someone misuses “who” and “whom”. Ironically, I don’t always use grammar and punctuation correctly myself, which, I’m sure, makes it even more satisfying to others who point out my mistakes. (Several months ago I mixed up “whose” and “who’s” in an e-mail; I’m STILL kicking myself over that one.)

But, as a technical writer and a lover of (correctly used) language, I use it better than most. For this reason, imagine my pleasant surprise when I read a WaPo article Monday on how grammar is making a comeback in many area high schools. Grammar was never stressed too much in my junior high or high school. I learned how to use it correctly from reading a lot and taking a profound interest in how words flowed. This explains why I know when something reads correctly but couldn’t tell you why.

I laugh (and cry a little inside) when I see store signs advertising a “sale on apple’s” or when I receive an e-mail from a friend telling me “their has to be a better way”. Remember, Microsoft’s spelling and grammar checks will only catch so much.

These instances of grammar/punctuation bloopers are entertaining, if not disturbing. But I expect more from primetime TV shows. I expect copyeditors.
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