09 May

as far as grammar, there's two errors in this title

I’ve been getting pretty annoyed at some readers of slashdot (and other pages…). There are some small grammatical errors that are slipping into common usage, and they need to be stomped out – surprisingly, Slashdot-users are usually the type of people that notice these things – geeks tend to be exacting, where syntax is concerned.

The first grammatical slip is the awful usage of “there’s”, which I find everywhere I look.

In the first paragraph of this entry, you can see the following text.

There are some small grammatical errors…

I see a lot of sentences such as the above written like this:

There’s some small grammatical errors…

People! There is an obvious rule which states that the latter quote is incorrect! Where the subject of a sentence is plural, it’s “are”, and where the subject is singular, it’s “is”. Is that so hard?

The second one really grates on my nerves…

In the sentence; “As far as Microsoft, Linux should just curl up and die”, what is missing?

If your answer is that there’s nothing missing, and that the sentence is fine, then you should get yourself to the back of the class. Let’s try again, with the problem area highlighted:

As far as Microsoft         , Linux should just curl up and die.

This is called a “verbless variant”. The missing, intimated phrase above is “is concerned”.

To point out the problem a bit more obviously, I’ll give you another example sentence. This is the full sentence:

As hard as the wind blows, it will not be long before the tree falls.

Now, I’ll remove the first verb:

As hard as the wind, it will not be long before the tree falls.

I don’t know about you, but I find myself itching to type the missing word in. Whenever I see an error like the above verbless variant, or the misplaced singular verb, I feel like attacking the author, and chaining the poor soul to a scratchy wooden school desk, with a pencil and paper, and instructions to write the following out two hundred times:

As far as grammar is concerned, there is an “is” where a singular subject is the context, not an “are”.

6 thoughts on “as far as grammar, there's two errors in this title

  1. I feel your pain. What really annoys me are (ouch! – kae) the fact that people still confuse there, their and they’re. They’re three different words. It’s really not that hard.

  2. damn i, hate poor gramra and spellnig. its bad and make’s the Websites owner look bad

    Sorry đŸ˜›

  3. I completely agree. Bad grammar and incorrect spelling freak the hell out of me. Seeing “CD’s” and “DVD’s” on notices in the windows of computer shops makes me want to break out my Tippex.

  4. It’s been a while since I read it, but I believe “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves” (I think I got the punctuation correct) says that “CD’s” and “DVD’s” are valid pluralizations. The reason given was one that stuck in my gut (and stuck in the author’s gut as well), but it was logically explained and made some amount of sense.

  5. True, Jeff – it’s still a nerve-grate-inducing thing to see, though. Another example of valid “optional” apostrophes mentioned in that book is in brand names. “Macdonalds”, for example, is valid, even though it logically requires an apostrophe.

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