Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Grammar is "Fun"

I have a few favourite typos and grammar mistakes. For example, confusing "Brian" with "brain" is hilarious no matter which one you meant to type. "Porblems" is always more entertaining than "problems."

But the best is the misuse of quotations. Most common grammatical errors have some logical reason behind them, such as confusing words that sound similar (their/there/they're; permeation/permutation), or mistakenly thinking they have the same meaning (which/that, imply/infer). But the misuse of quotations is different, because the common misuse - to add emphasis - is the complete opposite of a correct use - to indicate irony or unusual usage. By trying to draw attention to a word with quotation marks, confused writers actually express that the word is not what it appears to be. It's almost like confusing "yes" with "no"; there is no logical explanation for it.

And since I love mystery and the haphazard stupidity of the English language, it's my favourite mistake.

Examples:


Of course, for anyone with a basic grip on punctuation, this actually means the spoons are not fresh. They are old, rotten spoons. Maybe they should have been kept in the fridge.



This is the saddest place on Earth.




So I guess this means the washroom is for non-paying customers. Either that, or for customers who "pay" through some unusual and undoubtedly sexy method.





And you probably don't want to eat here. *


Correct use of quotation marks isn't very hard to understand. Come on, use your Brian.

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* The examples here, and many more, can be found at the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks.

14 comments:

Darius Whiteplume said...

I pass a church billboard everyday that says:

We "Love" All People

Yep, that sounds about right ;-D

lindsay said...

i was at a wedding once where the ice sculpture mistakenly read the groom's name as brain. no joke.

sarah said...

In role models the joke is someone says, "we appreciate your "presence" here," empasizing with air quotes because she was giving them a hard time and paul rudd says, "are you trying to imply we are not actually here?" which isn't the same as what you are saying but quote misuse can be funny we see! Typing on my itouch is tough. I also typoed which as wish tonight as you recall. Bad Sarah.

Queen Lindsay said...

I always get Brian and Brain mixed up. Damn, I almost did it while typing it. Every time I type it out, I have to stare at it to make sure it's right. lol

Phronk said...

Darius: Hehe nice. I also see a lot of "Jesus" Love You, which also sounds about right.

Lindsay #1: Was he getting married to Pinky?

Sarah: Oh man, I gotta see that movie because I hear so many good things about it. I do recall your typo. I was making fun of it in my head all night long. But I also forgive you for it.

Lindsay #2: I know eh? I had to proof read this post so carefully. It's like in our brains, that A and that I just really don't care where they go.

Phronk said...

And in that last comment, I meant both "brains" and brains.

As in both the word "brains" and the brains in our skulls.

More fun with quotes!

Darius Whiteplume said...

Here is the "perfect" picture at Fail.org.

Know I love doing the inappropriate quotes. :-)

Darius Whiteplume said...

Shit. I misspelled "now" - I feel so stooooopid.

katrocket said...

That Huckleberry's pic and your caption made me laugh so hard I almost fell off my chair.

"Almost."

B-r-i-a-n said...

Haha I love inappropriate quotation marks! I always wonder what it is that makes people think that's the right thing to do (any psychological insight here?)

Once I was making a sign at an old job and my superior strenuously insisted I use the quotes -- Super "sale" prices! -- as if it was written in the retail gospel, "Thou must thoughtlessly decorate thine copy..."

Phronk said...

It defies psychological or scientific explanation. Misused quotation marks are like the God of the writing world.

Anonymous said...

As much as this entry made me laugh, you do realize there's a grammar error in your blog, right?
Find out where it is and win the prize... (hint: it's the sentence starting with "while" (nice use of quotes, huh?))

Phronk said...

Oh and I tried so hard to avoid this kind of hypocrisy. You're right, there was a vestigial "while" in there. Gone now. Thank you, Anonymous.

Hey Lady! said...

My husband's mother wrote Brain on his birth certificate instead of Brian, seriously, the nurse had to ask her if that's really what she meant to write. Thankfully for him, she corrected it. In her defense she DID just give birth and was probably on some serious pain killers.