The Grumbling About Grammar Awards (GAGAs) is an occasional feature of The Vocabula Review. We will add to this list of grammatical grotesqueries as we can.
- I can't make a distinction because they're both equally as bad, and equally as evil, and equally as destructive. President George Bush
President Bush might actually speak more elegantly if he were even slightly more conscious of how he used his words, for in this instance, both both and as (and perhaps the ands) turn his otherwise finely spoken sentence into near blather.
- It is what it is. Art's art, you know. Justin Timberlake
This is so often how rock stars reason: very badly indeed.
- I am grateful to President Chirac for hosting this historic event, and for once the word historic is indeed meritous.
Prime Minister Tony Blair's using the nonexistent word meritous, instead of meritorious, is indeed ahistoric.
- Instead of spreading the wealth, we are growing the disparity. U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney
Growing a business or the economy is quite bad enough, but if Representative Maloney also feels we can grow a disparity, it may be time to stunt her career.
- So what are the best ways of staying healthy? Eat small proportions. Dr. Mallika Marshall, "HealthWatch with Dr. Mallika Marshall," WBZ-TV
Dr. Marshall is quite lovely, but her proportions are likely a good deal larger than our portions.
- I am equally as excited about sending a cashmere sweater to someone who I know doesn't expect it as I am about making a hefty donation to my favorite charity, A Better Chance Oprah Winfrey, O, The Oprah Magazine
To all the glitter of this magazine, grammar is sometimes sacrificed. The equally in equally as is as unnecessary as the picture of Oprah on each month's cover.
- A quick, easy customer experience garnered Yahoo the success it enjoys today and the new prominence of Yahoo Shopping complexifies the experience and could threaten Yahoo's core experience. Creative Good Inc.
Complexifies? The author either is unfamiliar with the word complicates or does not know the difference between neologism and nonsense.
- Last summer, my wife Chardel began hunting for a piano; both she and our daughter wanted to learn to play. Charley Blaine, Editor, Family Money
Goodness, so are we to understand that Chardel is just one of many?
- We have let the liberal paradigm define the debate, and the result is the false stereotyping of Conservatives as disinterested in the suffering of this nation's at-risk kids. Tom DeLay, Majority Whip U.S. House of Representatives
As middle school and high school children are tested before they are allowed to graduate, so perhaps elected officials ought to be tested before they are allowed to serve. Disinterested means without bias, impartial.
- Neither N.A.A.S., or the Publisher, are debt collectors within the meaning of Section 803(6) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. National Academy of American Scholars
Of course, as all scholars should know, Neither N.A.A.S. nor the Publisher is a debt collector is grammatical. Some critics maintain that neither ... or is correct as well, but I prefer to think not.
- Every single moment of your life you are faced with a choice irregardless of your station in life, irregardless of your status, irregardless of your circumstances or your limitations. Diana Rogers, Crystal Clear Reflections
Irregardless is nonstandard used once, illiterate used twice, barbarous three times.
- I seriously do not have a speech prepared whatsoever. Christina Aguilera, pop singer
This is typical of the sort of blather that so many rock stars, sports figures, and other celebrities spout. Talented though these people might be, their tongues often suggest they are little more than founts of foolishness.
- In this issue, Geoffrey columnizes on the shocking sums that CEOs of acquired companies are taking away from mergers these days, then lends his analytical touch to our annual Most Admired Companies story. John Huey, managing editor, Fortune
Not everyone can concoct an effervescent verb from some stolid noun. Though nouns do indeed occasionally become verbs, columnizes is hardly a good candidate, for many other already existing words would have done: writes, for instance. A word not born of need begets only noise.
- Then the murderer turned their attention to Heyward Brown. ABC News correspondent on 20-20
That the English language has no pronoun that neatly includes both genders is a shame, but so it is. Their is not the word to use here; his or her, cumbersome though it is, is in this instance, better. Of course, it once was well established that the masculine form alone applied to both sexes.
- I've always thought Marilyn Monroe looked fabulous, but I'd kill myself if I was that fat. Elizabeth Hurley in Allure
This is a stupid statement for more than one reason. But it's the was instead of were that I'll confine my comments to. The subjunctive mood has all but been abandoned in the evolving (or, shall we say, devolving) English language, except in sentences of this sort that describe something contrary to fact or impossible. Here were is the word needed.
- The purpose of language is to communicate, rather than prescribe to rules and standards. ... Moreso, though, rules were either created or sternly upheld by those insecure, upper-class intellectuals who insisted upon them to prove their education over of that of the lower elements. Scott Kapel, Solecisms of Mechanics and Grammar
The correct word is subscribe, not prescribe, though I suspect the author of this sentence, an English teacher and a so-called descriptive grammarian, might try to rebut this. Moreover, as any of his students might conceivably tell him, moreso is not a word. Both of these sentences, in fact, are an embarrassment to read.
- These attacks are only the tip of the iceberg. They are the part of the iceberg that is visible above the water in clear view. But as everyone knows, the largest part of the iceberg, and possibly the most dangerous, lies beneath the surface of the water and is difficult to detect. U.S. Senator Bob Bennett
Not only are we subjected to the monstrous and omnipresent tip of the iceberg image, but this U.S. senator feels as though he needs to explain what he means by it. From our senators, we should expect eloquence, not inanity.
- They're still a very good person who made a tremendous mistake and a misjudgment. Reverend Jerome F. Gillespie in The Boston Globe
And from our religious leaders, we should expect an understanding of pronoun-antecedent agreement, if not of human nature.
- Hey, I'm hardly against men pitching in around the house and helping with kids, or listening to their wives concerns (in fact as a mother of three with another little one on the way, I'm all for it.) Betsy Hart, Jewish World Review
Certain words do not belong to the realm of writing, or at least nonfiction writing: hey is clearly one of them. Hey is exclamatory, but only less than able writers (note also the period preceding the parenthesis) however friendly they wish to appear would use it, in effect, as an inverted exclamation mark with which to capture our flagging attention.
- In the meantime, me and my friends and my conservative colleagues will continue to use legal organizations to advocate that point of view. Tom DeLay, Majority Whip U.S. House of Representatives
Without a prepared speech to read from, Congressman DeLay speaks like any other ignoramus.
- But while I confided in Sally a lot about the distress between my mother and myself, she never did the same with me. Susie Bright, Salon.com
A heartrending story, from which this sentence comes, is made less moving when bad grammar (myself instead of me) encumbers the telling of it.
- Last December, him and President Clinton came up with another solution. Marty Delfin, reporter for the San Juan Star on National Public Radio
From National Public Radio correspondents, we have come to expect better.
- This site has a great deal of information about the basics of English grammer. Mid-Continent Public Library
The basics of English grammar surely include knowing how to correctly spell the word.
- Editors simply don't have the time to go through the slush pile like they used to. Barbara Kuroff, editorial director of Writer's Market, as quoted in Writer's Digest
Which is worse: that editorial director Kuroff said, like they used to or that the editorial staff at Writer's Digest magazine let it stand?
- That's them, not the Australians. Peter Jennings, ABC News
People who have a sizeable audience have a social responsibility to speak correctly, if not especially well. If Peter Jennings says, That's them, who then will not?
- When did opportunism become a bad word. Darva Conger on the television program 48 Hours
Though illustrating no grammatical blunder, this astonishing statement reveals how little we know the meaning of the words we use or, even more disturbing, how little meaning matters.
- It is clear there is someone among us who we cannot trust that one coward, that one sniveling, spineless, gutless coward, that one person who doesn't have the courage to say that they went to the press. James H. Fagan, Massachusetts state representative
After all those ones, however can they be allowed to follow?
- It features, á la word-a-day calendars, pivotal events from the book world the birth or death of a well-known author or the publication of a groundbreaking work. BOOK magazine
Here the accent mark over the "a" of á la is acute when it should be grave. And a few pages later:
Sites along the way include ... gas pumps and a sign that's seen better days, both in Landergin, Texas; and a sign promising a long stretch, as well as an unusal cactus planter, in Hackberry, Arizona.
Month after month, there are illiteracies to carp about in this magazine devoted to literacy.
- To be fair, the future that the robot symbolizes hasn't arrived because it has been superceded by an alternate future: the age of soft machines. Red Herring magazine
This is only one of (at least) three instances in one issue of Red Herring where supercede is used instead of supersede. And then there's alternate. ... Who edits these magazines, anyway?
- I called my mom, I go, "Did you read this?" She goes, "Un-hunh." And I go, "You didn't say anything?" And she goes, "No, I'm sure he deserves it," with a nice bit of sarcasm. I go, "Well, I didn't, don't worry." David Spade, actor, as quoted in The Chicago Tribune
Only the adolescent or the addlebrained or the celebrated prefer this gruesome goes to acknowledge, admit, announce, assert, asseverate, aver, avow, comment, confess, cry, declare, disclose, divulge, exclaim, mention, note, observe, proclaim, pronounce, remark, reveal, say, state, utter.
- For now, she wants to enjoy the enormity of the moment. Newsweek.
Enough of this misusage. Enormity is a word like no other; let us not disembowel it by using it as a synonym for enormousness, which of course, is sated with synonyms.
- Under some circumstances, that might be a good idea, but being as they have not yet been willing to recognize Kostunica as the lawful winner of the election, I'm not sure that it's right for us to invite the president of Russia to mediate the dispute there because we might not like the result. Al Gore, U.S. presidential candidate
Being as, being as how, being as that (like seeing as, seeing as how, seeing as that) are all, according to some commentators, illiteracies, and according to others, quaint and rural sounding; they are hardly presidential sounding.
- I don't think there is a plot to try to put subliminal messages in the people's minds. George W. Bush, U.S. presidential candidate
Governor Bush, here, couldn't seem to manage the proper pronunciation of subliminal, for (much like a person who says mis-CHEE-vee-es instead of MIS-cha-ves) he said, sub-lim-in-a-ble repeatedly.
Anyway, his tragic passing got me thinking a lot about death and how permanent the condition is. You can never go back. It's an awesome concept if you really think about it. Lisa Klugman, Editor in Chief, Fit
This is the writing of a sixth grader, for whom, it's not bad, but for an editor in chief of a national magazine, it's execrable. Not only for its style but also for its sensibility is it atrocious, for it has neither.
- Dominique's double life began unraveling last year, when the 50-year-old doctor was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Verena Dobnik, Associated Press
Writers surely read a good deal: articles, essays, short stories, novels, poetry almost anything but what they themselves write.
- After graduating high school in 1985, Kravits received an acting scholarship to the University of Maryland and spent the next six years doing theater in Washington, D.C., before moving to New York City, where he acted in commercials and small theater productions Jason Lynch and Allison Singh Gee, People
Two people are apparently not enough to write a grammatically correct sentence at People magazine, where the writing is so often reminiscent of someone who never did graduate from high school.