Today is Festivus, a holiday for the rest of us, which means it’s time once again for the annual Airing of Grievances. I’ve made my list; how about you?
Airing of Grievances form may be downloaded here.
Grievance the First: Spotted at Bed Bath & Beyond.
There must have been 300 of these Draftdodger® door cozies at BB&B when I visited a store in San Francisco in early December, and as far as I could tell, every single one had the same misspelling on its package. (P.S. There’s no hyphen in drawstring.)
Grievance the Second: From a story about private jets in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.
Marketing critic Rob Walker writes the “Consumed” column, but I don’t blame him for the appearance of imminently where a near-homophone, eminently, is called for. I blame the copy desk. (Imminently means “about to occur.” Eminently means “extremely.”)
Grievance the Third: The taint of ’tis. Since Thanksgiving I’ve received seven e-mails from online merchants with “’Tis the season” in subject line or body copy.
I defer to John McIntyre, who lays down the copyediting law against clichés at the Baltimore Sun and on his blog, You Don’t Say:
“’Tis the season”: Not in copy, not in headlines, not at all. Never, never, never, never, never. You cannot make this fresh. Do not attempt it.
The only thing worse than a “’Tis the season” headline is a “’Tis the season” headline with a backward apostrophe.
Grievance the Fourth: The following phrases are expressed in two words with a space between the words: in spite, never mind, all right (also all righty), at least, more so, a lot. I don’t give a fig what the album title was or what the band’s name is. If you want my attention, use the standard spelling.
Grievance the Fifth: On the other hand, intact is one word. Keep it intact, you might say. That is my advice to the “homeschooling examiner” who criticized a “democrat candidate” for misspelling lobbyist—and proceeded to misspell “intact” and mis-punctuate everywhere. It is also my advice to Read Write Web.
Grievance the Sixth: If you are taking a vote, the options are yea and nay. (And abstain.) “Yay” is an interjection synonymous with “hurrah”; it does not mean “yes.” “Yay or nay” is tediously common, and wrong. Here’s a frequent offender. Here’s another.
Grievance the Seventh: I love fashion. I appreciate a good pun. I do not, however, have warm feelings about a website called Fashism, which I’m not even going to link to.
The site’s founders told the New York Times they came up with the name “after an intense brainstorming session around a kitchen table.” The Times’s readers found it “creepy,” “terrible,” and “tasteless,” and so do I. Co-founder Brooke Moreland said she was “surprised” by the negative reaction to the name. “I never thought anyone would be offended because we’re not doing anything offensive,” she told the Times. “Frankly, it’s a very different word” than “fascism.” Yeah, right.
Grievance the Eighth: Unless you are two years old, it is not amusing to say “for she” or “for he.”
Grievance the Ninth: A comma splice, aka run-on sentence, appeared in a full-page Coca-Cola ad in the San Francisco Chronicle, December 12.
The circled sentence requires a period (full stop) after fun. I chastised Coca-Cola for this error in a September post. Did anyone listen? Apparently not.
Try to have lots of whatever you have for Festivus!
That is a truly eye-watering laundry list of grievances. I've got to say that while Fashism was on thin ice in terms of taste, I think they got too many brickbats. What is the fashion industry, after all, if not a tribe of aesthetic fascists? But the NYT mag piece is a shocker. I expect Bruce Willis to get confused by the word "imminently" (see below), but not the NYT...
Posted by: JT Sheerin | December 23, 2010 at 08:01 AM
To add to the wretched "'Tis the season", I offer "It's that time of year again!" Ugh.
Posted by: Anelia232 | December 23, 2010 at 08:15 AM
I love you.
Posted by: leslie (crookedstamper) | December 23, 2010 at 03:45 PM
John McIntyre would forbid giving this reason for following his advice: If you see it in the Sun, it's so.
Posted by: Janet Swisher | December 23, 2010 at 03:51 PM
Considering the numerous spelling and grammar errors in copy and on products, I'm grateful you were able to keep your grievances down to just nine. :-)
Posted by: pam | December 23, 2010 at 03:53 PM
You are right on the mark with this post!
I have a grievance, however, with Grievance the Seventh because the third sentence ends with a preposition. ("I do not, however, have warm feelings about a website called Fashism, which I’m not even going to link to.") Although there is no agreement among grammarians, I find this as annoying as a comma splice!
Posted by: Sheila | December 23, 2010 at 04:04 PM
Sorry, Sheila, but your grammar "rule" is roundly deemed to be invalid.
Chicago Manual of Style calls it "an unnecessary and pedantic restriction." Garner's Modern American Usage says it's "spurious." Fowler's Modern English Usage calls it "a cherished superstition." Read more here:
And even more here:
Posted by: Nancy Friedman | December 23, 2010 at 04:12 PM
The Coke ad could use an em-dash in place of the comma "Except fun -- try to ...".
In the spirit of "alot" and "yay" for "yea", the one I cannot get used to is "hehe" for a snicker ("hee-hee").
All this said, though, given the changes that people will actually learn to write all these things correctly (i.e., zero), letting 'em get to you is just a recipe for stress.
Posted by: mike | December 23, 2010 at 05:47 PM
I'm with you on most of these but I think you're going too far with Grievance the Fourth. If the band's name is Inspite, the band's name is Inspite. Not In Spite, Inspite. And the album is Nevermind. If you're looking for the band or the album in a list on your iTunes are wherever and put the name in the search block with the space you're going to get an error message like "Search Object Not Found". Would you correct someone whose name was Mahony claiming it should be Mahoney?
Posted by: Faldone | December 26, 2010 at 05:49 AM
Someone needs to do a public service campaign on how to write that cheerful word that people say so often in place of "hurrah"-- "yay!"
I see this spelled wrong more often that right. The most popular misspelling being "yeah," which implies more a sullen teenagers one-word reply than an expression of joy.
Loved the post!
Posted by: Anne | December 26, 2010 at 07:07 PM
Faldone: You misunderstood my intent--I said I don't care what the album's title or band's name is; poetic license covers the misspellings. But that poetic license does not apply to standard uses of the words in question.
Posted by: Nancy Friedman | December 27, 2010 at 07:43 AM