Friday, February 27, 2009


I don't know who writes the web copy for Madison's Channel 27, but I have a sneaking suspicion it's someone's third-grade kid, because most people I know had a better grasp of the English language starting at age eight than this alleged "writer."

It's well-documented that the abuses inflicted upon grammar as we know it by have rankled me for some time, and while I don't know what it was about today's story on the Allied neighborhood that pushed me over the edge, I may have finally reached my breaking point.

A wise man once said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," so I won't be throwing any rocks at Channel 27's news studio any time soon. I will, however, right these grammatical sins to the best of my ability and be completely merciless in terms of leveling criticism until the culprit either attains his or her GED or is re-assigned to a more appropriate duty at the television station -- say, for instance, pushing a broom.

From, as of 1 PM Friday, February 27.

" MADISON (WKOW) -- A Madison neighborhood task force is working on making sure people living in the allied drive (1) area can get to the grocery store.

The communities (2) only grocery store, Cub Foods on Verona Road, closed down, and because of the tough economy, it could be a while before another store takes it's (3) place.

The closest stores now are Copps on Whitney Way and Super Target off PD. Both are a two mile trip.

"Even when Cub was here, that was walking distance, they (4) can bring their grocery's (5) back in buggies to their houses...Bus fares will go up to $2.00 in April and I can't see how people are going to survive without a grocery store in their community," says Allied Area Task Force member Robert Artis. "

The corrections, as you see, are simple. These are not nitpicky details, which I could spend even more time whingeing about. These are basic grammatical rules that are being flagrantly ignored -- or, the writer is flagrantly ignorant of them.

(1) Used: "allied drive." Needed: "Allied Drive." The name of a street in Madison is a proper noun, warranting capitalization.

(2) Used: plural form, "communities." Needed: possessive form, "community's." As you'll see, the possessive versus plural forms are really this writer's Achilles' Heel. I can't read a damn story, or in this case, a damn paragraph without choking on one of these errors.

(3) Used: contraction of it is, "it's." Needed: possessive form of it, "its." Some people call this one a curve ball. They're just idiots. You wouldn't say "another store takes it is place," so don't write "another store takes it's place." I learned this when I was seven.

(4) Used: Run-on sentence. Needed: A period and a new sentence. I realize it can be tricky to take spoken sentence fragments and turn them into something that looks good on paper -- I did it for two years. But for the love of everything that's decent in the world, you have to at least TRY! And while you're at it, you can add something in paratheses to make it a little more clear what this goober was talking about, a la "Even when Cub was here, that was (within) walking distance. They (could) bring their groceries back in buggies to their houses..."

(5) Used: possessive form, "grocery's." Needed: plural form, "groceries." This could not BE any more simple. In most cases, if there are more than one of a thing, there's no need for an apostrophe. If a thing belongs to a person or people, use an apostrophe. You just damn well better make sure you place that apostrophe correctly, or we'll really have a beef.

So there you have it: four grafs, and none of them very meaty, five obvious grammatical errors my 10-year-old cousin could have picked out in 30 seconds.

This kind of writing on the internet, or anywhere else for that matter, is brain pollution. It's as dangerous as the C02 and particulate matter being belched into the air by massive factories in our nation. I fully support creating a cap and trade system for carbon emissions in the United States, but there is no excuse for this kind of grammar. It needs to be stamped out, and the most egregious violators need to be publicly flayed in order to keep our children from being exposed to this vile filth.

Its four you're one good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

holy crap, I think I just spit out my coffee. That guy has a job in his field and I don't? wtf?