May 7, 2013

"Who is so devoted to the park, and to the rules of grammar..."

"... that he or she would break the law to correct these mistakes?"

43 comments:

Nonapod said...

A vigilante copy editor? Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind.

Oso Negro said...

I dunno, Professor. I could potentially see you in such a role.

MadisonMan said...

Why did Pratt not copy edit the placards in the first place? A far better column by this person would have poked considerable fun at Pratt to shame them into fixing the placards. I'm certain that his fliers asking for an interview with the mystery Copy Editor were ignored because he said he was looking for the person who is fixing the placard's.

Given a choice, I won't patronize places that can't figure out how to use apostrophes.

edutcher said...

How dast they correct government!

Next thing you know, they'll be having tea parties and wanting rights and other silly nonsense.

Shanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shanna said...

A far better column by this person would have poked considerable fun at Pratt to shame them into fixing the placards.

Indeed! Bad Grammar and typos are in so many 'official' things now it's maddening. I completely understand this persons impulse to correct them! Pratt should just fix them.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

That's the lovely part, MadisonMan. "Oh, well, my assistant is French, and hasn't got a lot of connection to the English language" doesn't cut it. You, sir, have a perfectly fine "connection to the English language." Can't you proofread your own stuff?

David said...

Indeed! It's maddening that poor grammar and typos are now in so many 'official' writings. I completely understand this person's impulse. Pratt should just fix these typos.

Mitchell the Bat said...

It's bad form to make corrections with anything other than red ink.

MadisonMan said...

Why would you hire someone to edit in a language with which they are unfamiliar?

I'm guessing the assistant is five foot nothing tall and told him she wanted something from him. Several times.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Mitchell the Bat,

It's bad form to make corrections with anything other than red ink.

And you know what that does to your monitor.

(Sorry; just repurposing an old line about blondes and whiteout.)

William said...

Public bjs at a rap concert, and now this. Enjoy the decline bitches.

X said...

the documentary needs copy editing too. these weren't typos.

MadisonMan said...

these weren't typos.

True. But it's rude to tell someone they are stupid when you point out grammar errors. Far easier to give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest that typos are present.

Maybe that's just being passive aggressive.

Misinforminimalism said...

Reminds me of one of my favorite cartoons of all time:

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lj9ezvvaJb1qiz3jio1_500.jpg

m stone said...

The stealth editor fascinates me: OCD along with reverence for the language.

Perhaps we should plant errors to drive him oot.

Richard Dolan said...

An art installation like this challenges the way you view the immediate landscape and the wider world. (And the wider world in that part of Brooklyn looks nothing like the leafy idyll in the video, which is a challenge in itself.) The DIY fixes to the placards enhance the challenge by undermining the authority of the text (and text-writer). Open your eyes and see for yourself.

Charming and disruptive. Nice. Of course it's illegal.

Richard Dolan said...
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Dust Bunny Queen said...

I so often have to resist the temptation to make corrections in books that I am reading. Glaring spelling errors or wrong word usage. Sometimes I see that others have edited in a used paperback or hardback that I have purchased and have to laugh each time I see it occur.

One of the main reasons that I don't do editing, other than the fact that I am defacing the book, is that I'm not always sure if I am correct; especially with semi colons.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

My favorite copy editor, Annie Gottlieb, now resides in New York. Coincidence?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Dust Bunny Queen,
The rule about semi-colons is that before and after the punctuation mark, a complete sentence exists.

Molly said...

As an editor, I can well understand the desire to correct typos, grammatical infelicities, and the like--particularly in signs posted by an educational institution.

Pratt should certainly hire a copy-editor. How can it admit students and promise them an education when it can't even get its grammar and spelling right?

Shanna said...

I so often have to resist the temptation to make corrections in books that I am reading.

It bugs me that I can't do this with my kindle. So many errors!!!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Thank you Ruth Anne! I will try to remember that rule :-P

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ruth Anne Adams & DBQ,

Yep. A semicolon usually separates two things that could stand as distinct sentences. IOW, you could replace it with a period, and there'd be no harm done, grammatically speaking. The idea, though, is to convey that there's some close connection between the statement before and the statement after; for example, I just used a semicolon to illustrate what it's for :-)

The other use (and IMO the more valuable one) is to separate complex phrases in long lists. Ordinarily, if you're making a list in a sentence, you separate the items in the list with commas. If the items in the list contain commas themselves, though, you need another separator.

MadisonMan said...

Yes. For example, there are several kinds of people who post on althouse: middle-aged men who apparently have a huge huge crush on althouse and who stick pins into their meade-y voodoo doll every night; trolls who delight in chicanery, obtuseness and not-very-clever obfuscation of topics, delighting in plunging sticks into a wasps' nest; People who can't cook with anything but lard and Madisonians who provide a local-ish angle.

Some people would recommend a final semi-colon after 'lard' but I don't think it's necessary.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If the items in the list contain commas themselves, though, you need another separator.

I thought that was the function of a colon? I guess I'd better go find my Strunk and White.

Sam L. said...

The Horror! The horror....

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

MM,

Oh, I think you need the semicolon after "lard." The "Oxford semicolon," as it were :-)

What you don't need is the capital "P" in "People." What's that doing there?

eddie willers said...

I'm not always sure if I am correct; especially with semi colons.

In a book I recently read, a politician was was accused of underaged sex.

His accuser said she could identify him since he had two moles that looked like a semicolon on his testicles.

The detective said, "He'll walk. No jury will believe a teenage girl knows anything about semicolons".

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DBQ,

I thought that was the function of a colon? I guess I'd better go find my Strunk and White.

Nooooo! Please don't use colons as separators. They'll be everywhere. It's bad enough that I have a cat who insists on sticking his butt in my face at 5 a.m. daily, but you're proposing shoving colons into everyone's faces, over and over again.

MadisonMan said...

@Michelle: That was a typo.

LOL

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

MM, you don't get claim as "typos" things that require two fingers on the keyboard at the same time. Like, say, capital letters :-)

If I said that I'd typed "tyro" when I meant "typo," that'd be a reasonable typo. But if I typed "Typo" and then claimed that I meant to type no-cap "typo," not so much.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This is a great thread. I love pedantry.

Smilin' Jack said...

""Who is so devoted to the park, and to the rules of grammar... that he or she would break the law to correct these mistakes?"

Lots of people. I know when I see mistakes like that it makes me want to join Al-Qaeda.

Kylos said...

If I ever took up graffiti I would be the "Pedantic Vandal".

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Kylos,

From Lynne Truss' Eats, Shoots and Leaves, a classic edited graffito:

[Original:] "Nigger's out"
[Added:] "But he'll be back shortly!"

Dust Bunny Queen said...

classic edited graffito

One that made me laugh in the 1970's and still does.

"Support striking phone workers"

added: "And the ugly ones too."

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DBQ,

My favorite of those I've seen myself was in downtown Berkeley. There was a sticker on a lamp post depicting a bunch of very large, militant women with raised fists, captioned "We Still Ain't Satisfied!" Below, someone had written "Eat more ice cream!"

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DBQ,

Remembered from a book of bathroom graffiti of the Ivy League, or something of the kind (it must have been pretty bad, because this is the only item that stuck:

(1) We are all Viet Cong
(2) Except my mom
(3) Typical Leftist individualism

JAL said...

How can it admit students and promise them an education when it can't even get its grammar and spelling right?

It's an art school?

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I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

MM: you failed to capitalize Althouse twice, 'people' ought to be 'persons' in that context, and 'doll' ought to be plural.

Your use of semicolons is a joy and a delight, however.