Kneel to the Grammar Fascists, Puny Mortal
There are two types of people in this world: people who notice typo's, and people who make them.
It used to be that typo- and bad grammar-spotting was a relatively solo hobby you could pursue on road trips or with another friend. In the past couple of years, along with the rise of other blogs that have a singular purpose such as "I Can Has Cheezburger" (lolcats) and "Passive-Aggressive Notes," there has been an explosion of fun blogs dedicated to spotting bad grammar and poor punctuation.
So now you can not only see typos in other parts of your region or country, you can gawk at typos from all over the world. And there are ones dedicated to specific kinds of grammar trainwrecks. Who knew there was so much quotation abuse? Here is a short look into to the fun world of grammar blogs.
1. The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks
Bethany, the woman who started the site, keeps the tone very light and is often downright terse with her commentary. This is great, because a lot of the pictures speak for themselves.
I like her stance from her FAQ page:
My real intellectual position is more of a descriptivist. I understand that language is constructed socially and therefore naturally evolves and changes and is not subject to absolutes. I conceive this blog as a kind of language play a la Derrida that also demonstrates the limits of such permissiveness, which becomes unclear writing. I'm trying to have fun with language, not protect it or enforce a "right" way to write or speak.
In the title of the blog, "unnecessary" is in quotes, I see. Very clever. So are they unnecessary or not? No one knows! I'm going to "say" yes. Be careful, this sort of thing is "addictive."
2. Becky of Apostrophe Catastrophes (which is fun to say) is another blogger who tempers her outrage with humor and pictures of the offending apostrophes. She has just started but is already up and running. She mentioned that she was worried she wouldn't be able to find enough material to sustain a blog like this, "but I found five punctuation mistakes during a 15-minute walk from South Station to Park Street yesterday. I then found four or five more in and around Fenway Park."
3. The Grammar Vandal, Kate McCulley, is more inclusive in pointing out errors, and sees it as her duty to correct them. As she says on her front page, "I carry a sheet of comma stickers and a Sharpie with me at all times, ready to fix each mistake. If an error glares at me, I'm there to destroy it." She also posts corrections made by other people.
4. Some people are so up in arms now, they are hitting the road in the name of their cause. Have you heard about The Typo Eradication Advancement League? Known as TEAL, their team is setting off on a grammar-correcting spree that will take them across much of the U.S.
They have set up a TEAL blog to document their experiences. In the most recent entry, written from San Francisco, they declare that they scraped an apostrophe off a word that read "armoire's," when it was clear that the owner meant they had multiple armoires. I feel a little conflicted about this sort of behavior. Clearly, it's vandalism to damage property like this. And I sort of appreciate it when bad grammar is left to stand as it is. I am not immune to making typos or botching grammar, but I do take it has some kind of telling sign when someone is terrible with grammar. I wouldn't want to walk into a business that had been "sanitized" of its bad grammar. I WANT the warning. Yes, I am a Grammar Judgypants.
5. Another blog I've been enjoying lately is Hanzi Smatter. The author focuses on "the misuse of Chinese characters in Western culture," particularly as it applies to tattoos.The most recent entry features a man who intentionally wanted to be tattooed with the characters meaning "sweet and sour pork" to poke fun at the stereotype of Westerners getting incorrect tattoos. The author's repsonse? Sorry, you blew the joke. Tian is a tough customer, and the comments often have lively discussion about the nuances of meaning in the characters, which I find fascinating.
6. Finally, I want to point out a blog, Rahoi, that I recently read the entire archives of. I love when that happens, and you cannot stop. The author is not updating as much as he used to in the beginning, but his archives are a fun look at "Manglish," which I believe on his blog refers to the mutilation of English by Mandarin-speakers. Jon Rahoi weaves the story of his life and travels into the entries that are on "Manglish," which makes the site more engaging and in some cases his commentary becomes touching instead of just snarky.
"Enjoy" these blog's!
SJ probably has 27 typos on the front page of her other blog, I, Asshole.
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