Friday, December 23, 2011

Everyday I Have the Blues #22
Year-end Roundup, Part I

I’ve neglected this blog for most of this year, but that doesnt mean I wasnt collecting notable examples of everyday English usage. I was, and its time to clear out the cache in time for the end of the year.

First up is an interesting smartphone app, Everyday. You take a photo of your face once a day or so, and the app turns them into a movie. Hew to the schedule long enough and you can bring an entirely new dimension to your masochism. I think the name is a sort of joke, but Im not sure.

Reuters covers so many fascinating subjects that their copy editors sometimes find themselves challenged, or so I imagine. Take this story about beach polo in Miami by Simon Evans. I called it Keeping the P in WASP because down in the fifth paragraph, Evans describes the typical polo tournament as having a gentile tone. Mr. Evans wins the 2011 Close But No Cigar Award for that interesting use of the word. Follow the link to read my snarky comment and learn more about the gentile tone of polo in America.

The New York Public Librarys Library Lions gala is noted as one of the high points of the season. For that reason, as well as the association of the library with good writing, you might think that someone would have given the announcement more than a cursory read, but apparently that wasnt the case. Nor did the writer notice the red line under “playwrite.” 

This is an oldie but goodie, and since it involves John Boehner it deserves the widest possible exposure. I think this goes back to 2009.

International Business Times may still be looking for copy editors, both fast and knowledgeable. Or maybe just fast. I’m beginning to think that people don’t know what it means when a red line appears under a word they’ve just typed.

Nokia is a Finnish company, but surely its ad agency has some native English speakers on staff. On second thought, maybe that was the problem.

I'm still trying to figure out what was in the writer’s mind when he or she wrote this. What rule decrees that “being ordered around by crew members” is incorrect?

I hope you enjoyed these examples of mangled English and come back next week for more from the archives.
Everyday I Have the Blues #21
I Can Has Smartphones?

This deck on the home page of the Wall Street Journal made me LOL this morning. Maybe I should cut the editor some slack — it’s hard to remember whether the subject of the sentence was singular or plural at 11 p.m. — but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t preserve it forever here.