Okay, people – look at the title of this post. If you’re a stickler like me, you’ll see what’s wrong with it immediately. This sentence appeared in a Nescafé advertisement that was hung on numerous billboards around my area a few years ago. My mother, who taught me all I know about the proper use of English, and I sighed loudly each and every time we passed one of these advertisements. I know I make occasional grammatical mistakes. I know I make more than a few mistakes regarding the proper use of punctuation marks – but then again, I believe many people ignore the finer print of the rules of punctuation and that this is okay for most writers.
Then again, there is a limit. For those who haven’t realized it, the mistake in the title is the lack of a comma between the phrase “wake up” and the person it’s addressing: “man.” This mistake, to any English sticklers, or sticklers-in-training like me, is glaring.
Here’s another one. Remember that movie with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant? The title is this: Two Weeks Notice. This is another example where the mistake is glaringly obnoxious – two weeks notice doesn’t mean anything! It SHOULD be Two Weeks‘ Notice – notice that little apostrophe there? Quite important, in terms of meaning.
I love language and I adore words – I’ve said as much before. I’m willing to accept proofreading slipups in books or mistakes caused by simply not knowing the language. I do NOT, however, have to accept mistakes made knowingly and purposefully in order to make a poster look less “cluttered” or “complicated.” How can we strive to educate the masses if we’re willing to drop punctuation marks to make things easier? How is this okay?!
Language is an incredible thing. I love language. Not in the rules-and-regulations-of-language way, but rather in the O-such-awesome-uses-for-it way. I do understand that I’m not being clear in any manner or fashion, and so I’ll try to explain myself. Though before I move on, I would like to say that despite what I said before I am very much a stickler for the rules and regulations of language, insofar as I’m aware of them, and I definitely have my pet peeves about commonly misspelled words and missing apostrophes and such.
Now, to explain what I mean about my love of language. Specifically, the English language. Don’t get my wrong, Hebrew has its own very unique and incredible words, phrases and uses – both the everyday Hebrew and the biblical Hebrew. But right now, I’m talking about the English language. One of my favorite things about it is that it is extremely rich and diverse. There are seemingly endless adjectives to describe things – for example, all the following can mean good when used in the right way: cool, awesome, magnificent, great, nice, alright, fine, etc. Verbs are also extremely specific, and, of course, equally endless – an example for this is the distinction between running and jogging. In Hebrew, there is only running and something called “light running.”
Another thing I love about English – and here is what started this whole post – is how random words can sound so good when strung together, even if they don’t make much sense. For instance: O, fortuitous doves! How thee rustle with luminescent gems, a-sparkle with the glow of Cheddar and Lucky-Charms! Crowned as you are with the pearls of a hundred singing urchins, thou shalt not pass for galloping gargoyles in the harsh winter!
See? A string of words bearing almost no relation to each other – but somehow, you WANT them to make sense. I love language.