Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The evil Mobius strip of a sentence

I was out for dinner with Shane tonight, and he pointed out that the sentence on the sign on the table was driving him crazy. He called it 'the evil Mobius strip of a sentence.' He then turned it around to share the pain with me.

"You make them favorites.
Time made it a classic."

WTF? The lack of parallelism in that phrase is appalling! Aside from the disagreement in numbers (it vs. them) and the disagreement in verb tense (make vs. made), it just hurts! It's not a pretty sentence. I don't like it. If you're going to be in advertising, make sure that at least one member of your team has a freaking English degree!! See? You should be able to do something with a BA in English.

This got me reflecting on the general grammar quality (or lack thereof) that I see all around me today. The language is being butchered by pop culture and ignorance. Now, I'll admit, I do use some acronyms that are prevalent (WTF, above, is a prime example). However, the majority of what I say is actually made up of real words. I will also admit that I make up words - these words get made up from the Greek and Latin roots that I learned while earning my BA in Classics. I don't randomly string letters together and call them words.

As my high school English teacher used to tell us, when you're a published author, you are allowed to selectively ignore grammatical points in favour of style. Until then, use the damn language the way it was meant to be used!! I am a published author. When I butcher English, I'm doing it to reinforce a point, make a stylistic choice, or I'm really drunk and can't tell whether I'm speaking in English or French (they have different grammatical rules). Joe Schmoe on the street, telling his girl to "stufu, noob," is making stylistic choices as an author. He's an idiot. And he sounds like an idiot.

On an unrelated note, last night Mordthor sent another spy to check out my television habits. Luckily, I managed to remove the roach before he could report back to the Dark One. Colby, we've got to come up with a plan to eliminate Mordthor. For good.

5 comments:

livininsanity said...

Ah, but you assume "it" refers to "them" when "it" could refer to the act of making them favorites. In other words, it could be interpreted as "Time made the act of making them favorites a classic." Or, more succinctly, "Time made memories classic." Which is true! And how could you go wrong with a marketing campaign like that.

colbymarshall said...

Mordthor must be stopped. I am not exactly sure how to do it though. I will begin scheming, though. Btw, I didn't know you were published? Why did I not know this/when can I read whatever it is?

colbymarshall said...

Oh, and one more thing I forgot: go check out my blog- last night I did a bug animal coo-elty for you!

Danielle said...

I was published twice - once was some poetry in a small magazine in high school, but I have no idea where my copy of that went; second time was a scientific article about the effects of ultraviolet radiation on the embryological development of Carassius auratus (goldfish), and I can probably dig up an approved draft of that, if you're really interested. And I have a hard-bound thesis, which is on display in the Uni library, my mom's living room, and my office.

colbymarshall said...

cool. I like it :-) And didn't know it-- I'm proud of you!