Grammar Nazi tip of the day

Grammar Nazi tip of the day

Submitted by Dan Man on March 26th, 2010 at 3:48 PM

As the great Walter Sobchak once said, "are there no rules??!!"

If you are speaking about a hypothetical situation, you should use "if I were," not "if I was." This is called the subjunctive mood. For example: "If I were you I wouldn't neg-bang me just for passing along a helpful tip, though you probably will anyway."

There is a tricky distinction made in certain situations where "if I was" is correct, which is discussed at…. You use "if I was" when the statement is indicative about the past rather than hypothetical. For example: "If I was rude in offering my advice, then I will gladly accept your neg-bang." That statement isn't hypothetical, it is indicative.

Take care, and may you never split your infinitive.


OT: I could care less about comments on grammar...

OT: I could care less about comments on grammar...

Submitted by phild7686 on March 24th, 2010 at 11:12 AM

...because I do care about comments on grammar. I care about them because I find them annoying when they take over threads and change them into threads about grammar.

And (notice I began my sentence with a conjunction, which is frowned upon in formal writing, but I have decided to adopt a less formal style of prose for this post because this is a message board about college sports) logically speaking, most (perhaps all) uses of "couldn't care less" are incorrect. For someone to comment that they "couldn't care less" means that they do indeed care enough to comment that they "couldn't care less."

Here's an example:

Person 1: "Michael Rosenberg said...."
Person 2: "I couldn't care less about what Michael Rosenberg said."

False! Person 2 obviously cares about what Michael Rosenberg said. They probably think he's 100% wrong on everything, which means that they care about what he said because they think he is wrong and shouldn't have said what he said, hence they truly do care about what he is said.

Complete indifference about Michael Rosenberg's comments would probably result in silence, or if someone did reply that they "couldn't care less", it would only be true if they had absolutely no positive or NEGATIVE (caps for emphasis) feelings towards Michael Rosenberg's comments.

OT: DFW Grammar challenge

OT: DFW Grammar challenge

Submitted by Wide Open on December 9th, 2009 at 10:11 AM
I stumbled across a posting from a literature blog, which reprinted this worksheet on proper written English by David Foster Wallace.

Find the errors in the sentences. The answers are found in the link, but have as much fun debating as your ennui allows.

25 February 2004


1. He and I hardly see one another.

2. I’d cringe at the naked vulnerability of his sentences left wandering around without periods and the ambiguity of his uncrossed “t”s.

3. My brother called to find out if I was over the flu yet.

4. I only spent six weeks in Napa.

5. In my own mind, I can understand why its implications may be somewhat threatening.

6. From whence had his new faith come?

7. Please spare me your arguments of why all religions are unfounded and contrived.

8. She didn’t seem to ever stop talking.

9. As the relationship progressed, I found her facial tic more and more aggravating.

10. The Book of Mormon gives an account of Christ’s ministry to the Nephites, which allegedly took place soon after Christ’s resurrection.

Completely OT - Is this the New AP Style Grammar?

Completely OT - Is this the New AP Style Grammar?

Submitted by Blazefire on October 8th, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Alright, I hate to get picky, but when you're a professional news source, you might want to pick up your Little Brown Handbook from 9TH GRADE JOURNALISM class, and read some basic English rules.


Nearly 1 in 4 people is Muslim.


A: The "to be" verb references people, which in itself is a reference to a large group of people. Are. Seriously, it's not that hard. Are.

2: You can't, and I mean CANNOT have nearly one. If you want to use that statistic, you must, and I mean must, multiply it. Nearly 3 in 10 would be much more appropriate, or, better still, X% of people.

D: Numbers under 10, excepting some very rare circumstances, should really be written out. This is more flexible, given the nature of the internet, but still.


(OT) Snark Mark: Punctuation for Irony

(OT) Snark Mark: Punctuation for Irony

Submitted by MCalibur on September 1st, 2009 at 10:17 PM

Came across an interesting wikipedia entry about the 'snark mark' quite by accident and thought the MGoBlog community could benefit from it. Also referenced in the article: doubt point, certitude point, acclamation point, authority point, indignation point, love point, and the intriguingly named, Interrobang(). Surprised a grammar geek hasn't pointed it out here yet though, I guess one's doing it now.

As we all know, irony and sarcasm can be difficult (at best) to detect over written communication. The mark is supposed to be a backward question mark. Alas, even as I write this post I cannot even ctrl+c & ctrl+v such punctuation. Supposedly a 'bracketed' exclamation point -(!)- or question mark -(?)- work in lieu of the real deal, depending on the type of statement being punctuated.

I spent 30 seconds brainstorming a way to try and market this but concluded that you probably have to be Apple to pull it off and even then they'd have to make it a "we're cooler than PCs" marketing meme. I certainly wouldn't buy a new keyboard for half of a key.