More than cat videos

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Girls With Slingshots for 9/18/2014:

The best part is Danielle Corsetto's note about creating this strip:

I wound up killing a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook asking people to share their grammatical pet peeves to use in today's strip. Jesus, that received more opinions and reactions than most of my cat videos do! Did you hear me? MORE THAN CAT VIDEOS

I don't think that I saw that note at the time the strip was published, but by a stroke of minor cosmic synchronicity, I noticed a different instance of the same phenomenon just two days earlier: "At the peevers' jamboree", 9/16/2014.

My point of comparison was much less striking, though — I merely noted that a Guardian Books article that invited readers to share their favorite "grammatical" peeves got 2,082 comments in one day (2,774 before they shut off the spigot), compared to the previous five articles, which got a total of 153 comments among them.



  1. Coby Lubliner said,

    February 18, 2017 @ 9:53 am

    I am bothered by the scare quotes around grammatical. As referring to the rules of language in general (including orthography and punctuation), the use of this word antedates linguists' appropriation of it for reference to a specific branch of linguistics, and remains as such in lay usage. Norma loquendi, anyone?

    [(myl) The OED notes that

    In early English use grammar meant only Latin grammar, as Latin was the only language that was taught grammatically. In the 16th c. there are some traces of a perception that the word might have an extended application to other languages (cf. quot. 1530 at sense 2   under grammatical adj. 1); but it was not before the 17th c. that it became so completely a generic term that there was any need to speak explicitly of ‘Latin grammar’.

    and also that

    … even from the older point of view … many questions of ‘correctness’ in language were recognized as outside the province of grammar: e.g. the use of a word in a wrong sense, or a bad pronunciation or spelling, would not have been called a grammatical mistake.

    So the question of whether "the use of a word in a wrong sense, or a bad pronunciation or spelling" in English is a "grammatical mistake" has always been ambiguous.]

  2. Morgan said,

    February 18, 2017 @ 10:27 am

    I'll be disappointed if the peevers succeed in enforcing a restricted use of "literally". It's the contrast between the restricted meaning and its actual use as a generic intensifier that makes it literally the best thing in the world.

  3. More than cat videos • Zhi Chinese said,

    February 18, 2017 @ 10:40 am

    […] Source: Language Permalink: More than cat videos […]

  4. Martha said,

    February 18, 2017 @ 11:26 pm

    The whole joke falls flat for me by starting out with the quotation marks. Anyone would be able to hear the quotes around "boss," not just an editor.

  5. ardj said,

    February 20, 2017 @ 6:58 am

    @myl ‘So the question of whether "the use of a word in a wrong sense, or a bad pronunciation or spelling" in English is a "grammatical mistake" has always been ambiguous’ – you quote correctly, but then seem to ignore the “old-fashioned definition of grammar as ‘the art of speaking and writing a language correctly’ “. Jonson cites Scaliger: Prosody and Orthography are not parts of grammar, but diffused like the blood and spirits through the whole’ – but he certainly quibbles about spelling (e.g. under K, L Q and Gh, and under verbs) and gives space to pronunciation at several points. So ambiguous but not wholly cast out ?

    @ Martha: yes, probably several other (kinds of) people could notice: but an editor might be particularly likely to.. No probs, eh ?

  6. Laodamia said,

    February 22, 2017 @ 12:05 pm

    Nobody commenting on the *should of seen the look on your face*?

  7. BZ said,

    February 22, 2017 @ 3:35 pm

    @Martha, I think that was the joke. It is plausible to "hear" quotes, but less so semicolons, etc

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