Bad science fiction? or worst job ever?

Written By: admin - Apr• 10•13

That’s Laura’s question, inspired by this exciting box of Wheaties. She explains:

I’m not sure what all-time is. It’s like a bizarre concept from some old sci fi that totally violates established, popularly known rules of physics that were discovered after it was written.

Or: we all know what part-time and full-time mean. Is all-time a job where you’re expected to work 24/7?


All-time annoys me, for sure. But a few lines above it you can also see one of my pet peeves: “10 years-old.” I see this all the time; people seem to think there’s a rule about using hyphens with ages. Which: no. You use hyphens with compound adjectives, just as “that is a 10-year-old boy.” Because it is a boy, and he is [10-year-old], as a single thing, but it’s three words so you use hyphens to keep them together. See? You don’t use the hyphens automatically because you’re talking about age. You don’t need to say “the boy is 10-years old” or “10 years-old” or any other variation of the kind. JUST DON’T.

Relay submission!

Written By: admin - Apr• 08•13

Diane (hi, Diane!) found this one, and texted it to GrammarTroika Sister #1, who sent it to me.

Better yet, Diane captioned it “Bad peanut! You can’t leave your shell!”

I think we like Diane. Also, I think I’d like some Pad Thai!

The dirty little secret

Written By: admin - Apr• 05•13

MAJOR NATIONAL CHAIN Victoria’s Secret, via Shannon, would like you to contemplate this.

Shannon was upset, as one should be, about the apostrophe, but also about the “scare quotes.” And I’m not sure I entirely agree with him. In fact, I can kind of see how the minds behind this ad got here. The name of the line is “Body.” The tagline they were going with requires a plural, but I assume the branding people didn’t want them using “bodies” when that’s not the name of the line. So… they did this.

I’m saying I can see how they got here. I’m not saying I’m okay with it. Because I’m not.

I’d split the difference with Shannon. I’d take “You’ve never seen ‘Body’ like these.” I would even accept — for the sake of branding and whatnot, although I would have cringed mightily — “Body”s, as long as it was very clear they were using quotation marks and not apostrophes. In that case, in fact, the quotation marks would have been exactly right, indicating that they knew they were doing something a grammatically iffy and that it was deliberate.

If I’d been the ad designer, I would have gone with only one model and “You’ve never seen a ‘Body’ like this.” But then, of course, we would have only had half the nudeariffic nudity, so. And we wouldn’t want that.

Props where they’re due!

Written By: admin - Apr• 03•13

I don’t get very many opportunities to prove this, but I’m always willing to accept and publish a (well-written) mea culpa after a post here.

For example.

And it seems to be true. Check out the before-and-after at the Fit & Fresh website:

All sorts of betterness. EXCEPT: I am a little lugubrious that they’ve lost the lovely alliteration of the last line!

So bravo, Fit & Fresh. And as I said on Red Pen Brigade’s shiny-new Twitter account: if you send me pictures of the new packaging, I’ll post that too. My readers — all eleven of them! — like to support businesses with a proper respect for punctuation.

How did this slip past the media?

Written By: admin - Apr• 01•13

There’s been so much excitement about the size of beverages in New York recently that apparently the national media completely missed it when the New England Legislature passed HR24601-42. It’s now illegal to serve clam chowder on Fridays, except at Pano’s restaurant.

…or should we say that all media except Reporter #1 missed it?

I personally am outraged at this discrimination against all non-Pano restaurants. Let’s start a petition.

How not to get my money, part 2

Written By: admin - Mar• 29•13

I wish this were an April Fool’s joke, y’all.

I will stipulate at the very beginning here that I know Mamasource is just a deal broker, and that their… er, creative writing is not to be blamed on the actual product distributor. But my understanding about other deal-brokering sites is that the ads are approved by the companies in question. If that’s not the case here, it needs to be. (Are you listening, Sproutkin?)

Yes, people, that’s right: this product, when given to your pre-literate children, will help he or she to achieve milestones.

Milestones like becoming President of the United States, maybe? I’m sorry, I can’t help it, this ad just totally reminds me of our 43rd President and his “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test” doozie. But at least that was spoken aloud by a man who famously disliked teleprompters. This, presumably, was vetted by advertising professionals.


How not to get my money.

Written By: admin - Mar• 27•13

Part of my decline into Oooooold has involved an increase in the number of pills I take a day. I gave up last year and bought one of those pill cases that has not just a compartment for every day, but two compartments for every day, so you can fit in the breakfast pills and the bedtime ones in different compartments. So I saw these from a distance and thought that they might be right up my alley until OH NO THEY DIDN’T.


First of all, can we talk about the fact that “pod” is a real word, not an acronym, so it actually doesn’t need to be in all capital letters? I mean, aside from the blisteringly obvious THAT IS NOT HOW YOU USE AN APOSTROPHE.

And fear not, RPBers. I did the dirty, dirty job of checking the prominently advertised website to see if the error is reproduced online and wasn’t just an extremely unfortunate typo on product packaging (which you really, really should double-check, if you make a product).


But this is where it gets interesting. Let’s break this down for a minute.

At the RED ARROW, we have improper capitalization and an improperly used apostrophe.

At the BLUE ARROW, we have the improper capitalization, but the apostrophe has been spared.

And then we have the part I’ve underlined in pink, which features a properly capitalized acronym with¬† acceptable use of an apostrophe!

I can only conclude that the copywriters at have decided to cover every single punctuation base they could imagine. Well done!

I can feel the hives a-comin’.

Written By: admin - Mar• 25•13

My father found this one, and sent it to me because apparently he wants me to cry. So props to my father — and to Starbucks!

You know what’s kind of funny? When I look at this, I actually am additionally upset — I mean, beyond the onset of the hives, and the weeping, more than that — at the randomly incomplete set of quotation marks in Tuesday’s tea items.

Why does “tea” only get one unnecessary quotation mark? Why? What does it mean?

I fear for this person’s sanity.

Written By: admin - Mar• 22•13

Jake’s first-ever submission was bad enough. It really was. Now his second submission comes with the horrifying explanation that he sees this every day at work.

Jake says:

The sign is ABOUT mistakes! Was it on purpose?

I have no idea, Jake, but I can tell you that if I had to see this every day I’d rapidly end up in a field beating the living daylights out of a printer with a baseball bat. You know?

Your zen moment for this Wednesday

Written By: admin - Mar• 20•13

I just don’t even with this one.

Reporter #1 notes “It’s not just the weirdness, it’s the inconsistency.”

You certainly have a point, Reporter #1. But it’s also the weirdness. I’m so confused. Does anybody have any light to shed on this?

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