Grammar Nazis Continue To Blast Apple

from the think-different-in-the-funnest-way-possible dept

A few years ago, when Apple was running its "Think Different" campaign, various grammar nazis complained that it was promoting a grammatically incorrect slogan. Others suggested that it was actually okay, as "different" isn't intended as an adverb in the slogan. However, with Apple's latest iPod launch, the grammar nazis are back, complaining about Apple's use of the (non)word "funnest." I recognize that these things matter to the grammatically infatuated out there, but we're talking about a marketing campaign -- and part of the point of such a marketing campaign is to stand out by being different. The English language has always adapted and changed over time, and that includes changes that came about due to marketing campaigns.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 1:45am

    The Grammar Nazis probably also blasted those people behind teh "Got Milk?" marketing campaign.
    Oh, "Got nuttin better to do with your time?"

     

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  2.  
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    Alex, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 2:27am

    Why adhere to any grammatical conventions at all? Why not use "I'm totes this 4 funsies!"? Why not use "fish iPods far perturbs urban submarines"? If we aren't going to make sense at all, "Martin Scorsese lost a bet to Donald Sutherland; so did you" works perfectly.

     

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  3.  
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    suv4x4, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 2:34am

    I agree, being differently are key to well advertising campaign. Is hard to understanding messaging together with quirkily grammer may causing peoples paused, thinking for the advertising informational.

     

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  4.  
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    Cowardly anonymous, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 2:36am

    Grammar junkies should see more daylight I guess. What are they fighting for other than their own egos.

     

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  5.  
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    Alex, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 2:39am

    Re:

    Preservation of the English language?

     

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  6.  
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    Gunnar, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 2:43am

    Grammar has no place in poetry, headlines or copy writing. The point of "funnest" is to make the reader think twice, not because it's wrong (Merriam-Webster recognizes the word in its dictionary), but because it's an uncommon word. The oddness of the word gives the reader something to remember. Or at least that's the idea. It's still a pretty weak ad slogan.

    Also, there is nothing grammatically incorrect with "Got Milk?"

     

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  7.  
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    TheHoldSteady, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 3:00am

    Apple grammar

    Yet again, Apple gets a free pass from the compliant tech press. Shocking, huh?.

     

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  8.  
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    Geoff, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 3:07am

    Its a slippery slope..

    Its the grammar fuckwits that got us into that lovely "unlimited bandwidth" mess... I for one welcome our jackbooted language overlords!

     

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  9.  
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    jFive, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 3:21am

    You guys are forgetting about the AOL slogan that caused a generation to mangle the language.

    I cringe ever time I hear "you've got..." in a conversation. It's the adaptation into casual language that makes people sound ignorant.

    Funnest: this is just a joke to sound cute.

     

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  10.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 3:22am

    Ain't That The Applest...

    The trouble with being careless about using the right words as that you can so easily cream bun and pie.

     

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  11.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 3:36am

    As usual...

    As usual the truth of the matter is somewhere in the middle.

    On the one hand, we kicked England's ass in two wars. That earned us the right to treat the English language as our collective bitch.

    On the other, asshats really should stop speaking/writing differently than the rest of us in an effort to sound cool. While they're at it, they should get off my lawn too. Damn kids.

     

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  12.  
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    Xyro TR1 (profile), Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 3:40am

    It's still better than...

    There are many other slogans which drive me crazier...

    "Where you at?" - Boost Mobile
    "I'm lovin' it" - McDonalds

    Just a couple examples...

     

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  13.  
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    MadJo (profile), Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 3:44am

    I can...

    I can has grammer notsea?

    Indeed, languages evolve... otherwise it'd be a dead language.

     

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  14.  
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    MadJo (profile), Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 3:45am

    Re: I can...

    btw.. what did those grammar junks thing about 'comcastic'? :)

     

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  15.  
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    Mike (profile), Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 3:57am

    Re: Apple grammar

    Yet again, Apple gets a free pass from the compliant tech press. Shocking, huh?.

    Yeah, because it's not like we've ever, ever complained about Apple moves... Oh wait...

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080916/0226122280.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/artic les/20080914/2249062264.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080905/1631352184.shtml
    http://ww w.techdirt.com/articles/20080819/1342382032.shtml

    And that's just in the last month alone.

     

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  16.  
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    Blatant Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 4:04am

    You know who else liked nazis? Hitler!

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 4:21am

    Re: Re: I can...

     

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  18.  
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    Alex, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 4:22am

    Re: Re: I can...

    That is a pun, which 'funnest' is not.

     

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  19.  
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    Christopher, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 4:24am

    Next is What?

    Yeah, there is one in India for samsung mobile that
    says, "Next Is What?" it drives me nuts

     

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  20.  
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    J.Locke, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 4:26am

    Grammar is dead

    Just watch a modern new caster, the difference between good and well for example, gone.

     

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  21.  
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    AJ, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 4:48am

    mo betta

    Ah yes, the last bastion of the liberal left... shun all rules. I can't tell you how many times I see ignorant people on the internet using 'to' instead of 'too', their or there instead of 'they're', to name just two examples. Why nut gat red uv all rulez and spel just anywhich way what we wants to? Rulez are for nerdz.

    boycottmcdonalds dot com

     

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  22.  
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    the.arctic, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 4:59am

    English is a malleable and ever-evolving language. However, I think the following Penny Arcade comic strip sums up my opinion on "creative" grammar quite succinctly.

    http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/2/4/

     

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  23.  
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    Hoeppner, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:02am

    Godwin'ed by the OP :P

     

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  24.  
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    J Katz, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:48am

    Nazi?

    To the writer and editor of this article......there are better ways to make your point than by calling someone a Nazi. Some people are very offended by comparison of anyone to a group that killed 6 million innocent people!

     

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  25.  
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    Look Left First, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:58am

    Linguistic Darwinism

    Let the language evolve! The mutant words with beneficial traits will live, the weak will die.

     

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  26.  
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    hegemon13, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 5:58am

    Re:

    Actually, there is. It should be "Have milk?" Just doesn't have the same ring to it.

     

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  27.  
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    Haywood, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 6:00am

    Re: It's still better than...

    "There are many other slogans which drive me crazier...

    "Where you at?" - Boost Mobile
    "I'm lovin' it" - McDonalds"

    Those are in Ebonics.

     

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  28.  
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    Trevlac, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 6:06am

    Mike what thee hell was this article for?

     

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  29.  
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    Dave, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 6:12am

    Please! If you don't get the humor in the way he referenced 'nazi' then slit your wrists. Seriously! The last thing we need is more whiners in this world who can't handle a joke. I guess the Seinfeld 'Soup Nazi' was not funny to you either. What about the Stormtroopers in Star Wars, are you offended by that too? Do you drive a German car? Because if so then your post just became funnier. How about a Japanese car? You DO realize that the Japanese KILLED more Chinese at the beginning of WWII then Germans killed Jews but you don't hear the Chinese whining about it every time you turn around. Get a clue you friggin baby, and grow some skin while you are at it. You are also probably a democrat baby QQing about the WAr in Iraq. I have 2 friends serving over there now and both of them say the Iraqi people are grateful for the US occupation and liberation. Yet you and your Obama followers just want to pull out of Iraq and let the people suffer. They are HUMANS like your pathetic ass, maybe you and all YOUR kind would prefer to go over there and be the humanitarians and then we will take our troops and armor/weapons out of there. DIAF jerk. OP: I think your article is fine.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 6:17am

    They set the tone long ago

    They fired a warning shot a long time ago when they boldly misspelled Macintosh (the apple variety is spelled McIntosh) - grammer (and spelling) be damned.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 6:18am

    Re: They set the tone long ago

    although this was surely to allow people to google them better (is google officially a verb now?)

     

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  32.  
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    BrianWGray, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 6:26am

    I thought this was a fun article. (Misuse intentional)

    I thought the following article / podcast on this subject was interesting. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/is-funnest-a-word.aspx

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 6:30am

    Re:

    Your last sentence should have been ended with a question mark.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 6:37am

    Re: mo betta

    Hey dood, i is a replublican and i like to shun all rulez to. Give ur own party sum credit!

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 6:55am

    Re:

    Actually, it should be "Have Milk?"

     

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  36.  
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    Rob Crompton, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 6:56am

    rules

    I blame the geezers who developed this internet thing. You've only got to put the tiniest little typo into the machine and it won't let you where you want to go. Even though it knows damn' well what you mean. With rules like that you've got to get your freedom where you can.

     

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  37.  
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    Dave Barnes, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 7:18am

    Chinese Deaths

    @29 Dave:

    The Chinese do complain about the Japanese atrocities committed during their occupation of China.
    And, they complain loudly and frequently.
    It is the "western" press that ignores the issue.

     

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  38.  
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    asdfasfsd, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 7:29am

    Everyone seems to have a trigger when it comes to grammar. I'm more forgiving with ad slogans. As mentioned above, it's an ad slogan. I would be more concerned if the WSJ started throwing around "funnest" and "bestest" in their articles. Funny, Firefox spell checker doesn't seem to have a problem with "funnest".

    For some reason my trigger is people using "loose" when they should be using "lose". Drives me up a flippin' wall, and I don't know why. I want to reach through the computer screen, grab the offending party by the scruff of the neck and scream, "IT'S LOSE!!!! LOSE!!!!!!!!!"

    I need an intervention.

     

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  39.  
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    ash, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 7:39am

    it's simply a matter of prescriptive grammarians vs. descriptive grammarians. according to the former, the conventions of language are rules that can be either followed or broken. descriptive grammarians, on the other hand, examine the conventions of a language and say, "this is how people use the language, therefore, it is the language." there's no "right" or "wrong." languages are constantly evolving and self-correcting, so if i use "ain't," it's not the end of the world. i promise.

     

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  40.  
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    Wellington and Nelson, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 7:41am

    Re: As usual...

    "On the one hand, we kicked England's ass in two wars. That earned us the right to treat the English language as our collective bitch."

    You should get a history lesson, the US didn't kick ass in either war, it just survived. The British army burned the White House in the 1812-14 war and had the continent covered north, south, and east in the Atlantic. The British controlled the continent but couldn't do anything with it. Similar to the US wars in Vietnam and Iraq. In a paralell comparison, when the US troops pull out of Iraq, you would have to say that Iraq "kicked the US's ass".

    You earned no rights and are just one part of the world that was at one time dominated by the British empire. You merely speak a deviation of the English language, same as an Australian, same as a Jamacian, and same as the black kids in California who speak Ebonics.

    On topic, languages grow and change, but bad grammar is still bad grammar. Is using bad grammar in a phrase any less annoying than listening to someone speaking Ebonics?

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 7:50am

    Just given me a breaker. Who even cared, it just marketed compaigners.

    I hoped uno of them readed this and head explodered.

    *middle finger*

    Now with that being said, just buy a Zune. :)

     

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  42.  
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    A. Nonymous, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 7:52am

    Re: Grammar has not place in poetry, etc.

    I disagree with the statement, but perhaps not the point. Certain forms of communication break grammatical rules. When it is done well, it creates a striking effect, usually quite memorable. I personally object when the effect comes across and sloppiness or carelessness. When the rules are broken to create a new and unique way to make some point, it is done right.

    Your example of "Got Milk?" is interesting. There are a number of ways this could be stated: "Do you have milk?", "Have you got milk?", even "Have you any milk?". I don't know if there has ever been a time and place in which none of these have sounded ungrammatical or archaic.

     

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  43.  
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    TriZz, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 7:53am

    I don't see the problem...

    ...the slogan says to "think different". Perhaps it's referring to English as well.

     

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  44.  
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    Wellington and Nelson, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: As usual...

    Pardon my spelling error with parallel, and my error in sentence structure with the phrase that starts with similar.

    One should not write comments and then change them while being distracted.

     

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  45.  
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    Greg, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 8:13am

    What about AOL?

    Their slogan, "You've got mail!" is also incorrect. When the concatenation is removed, you are left with "You have got mail". Why not simply, "You have mail"?

     

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  46.  
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    GoodRat, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 8:34am

    This is absurd. When I'm online, the only way I can try to distinguish between intelligent, rational people and complete nut jobs is through their words. When someone uses 'loose' instead of 'lose,' or 'to' instead of 'too,' a number of times in a single post, I automatically assume the person is too lazy to follow the basic rules of spelling and grammar. And if they can't be bothered to learn when to use 'their,' then their arguments on some more complicated subject are immediately suspect.

    It would be like an apparently homeless person - old, dirty clothes, unkempt hair, body odor - tries to convince you of some philosophical point: he might be a genius, but you're probably not going to take the time to listen. You'll just assume he's crazy and move on. People who don't bother with the rules of spelling appear that way online.

    (Obviously, this discounts the occasional typo. Nobody's perfect.)

     

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  47.  
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    NeoConBushSupporter, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 8:40am

    Grammar Nazis

    They cant do nuthing good, and they smell poorly to.



    VOTE McCain 2008 - becuase its his turn dammit!

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 8:42am

    Re:

    "It would be like an apparently homeless person - old, dirty clothes, unkempt hair, body odor "


    You mean like Jesus?

     

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  49.  
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    Some other guy, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re:

    Do you mean kneejerk conservatism, or the honest belief that we ought to all be speaking English as Shakespeare wrote it, or even Chaucer?

     

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  50.  
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    J.Locke, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 8:44am

    Hey Grammar Nazis

    How do you guys feel about Walt Whitman? Do you have to be a dead homosexual before your allowed to ignore all the rules of grammar?

     

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  51.  
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    Phil McCraken, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 8:56am

    Re: What about AOL?

    it's a contraction you moron. Concatenation is to join two items together, such as Ass and hat into asshat! 9th grade grammar books are readily available on Amazon.com

     

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  52.  
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    Johnny Mack, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 9:22am

    Why not make correct English illegal, and make Ebonics the law of the land?? This is not unlike that stupid "like" word, in every sentence about a millions times, like do you like understand? If you don't like, use proper grammer then like, your going to sound like... well, like an idiot!

    Stop mutilating the King's English!!

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 9:28am

    I aint need no vocab trainin!

    While Grammar police skills may be a precondition in some spheres, I continually remind myself that I went to school to understand and grasp complex, abstract ideas in the area of computing. One may refer to these exercises as "Thought Synthesis".

    It's possible that one could infer an English major would remain interested in linguistic discourse analysis for hours, yet interest in a typical "thought experiment" (Also referred to as Gedankenexperiment) may be closer to nil.

    From an economic perspective, an organization that adheres to linguistic discourse analysis as a cornerstone eventually may succumb to a condition of "Grasping at Straws" where Grammar Police Skills may become an irritant to others, and prevent innovation to occur.

    Yet, things get tricky when adding in a psychological side of the coin. Understanding that a said "Grammar Police" person may feel somewhat inadequate due to their inability of being able to partake in said "Thought Synthesis" exercises, and therefore wants to contribute value in a way which they know: this usually is in the form of applying skillfully woven grammar. Goals should not to enable it to become an HR issue of it as that makes it difficult for all.

    So while based with theories of possible inadequacy, or inability to participate, the best reaction to exhibit to a person exhibiting "Grammar Police" behaviors, is avoid what could become an emotional conflict and apply this incredibly effective literary device:

    "Oops! Your Right! Thanks!"

     

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  54.  
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    Fin Ger, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 10:11am

    One Word

    Nucular.

     

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  55.  
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    A professional editor, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 10:28am

    An interesting topic

    I am amazed by the way people are treating this topic... what in God's name does it have to do with politics (or even England)?? I am very patriotic and I support Obama happily, but I make a living by correcting people's writing. It doesn't make me conservative anglophile!

    (For the record, whoever said that the US kicked England's ass in two wars is sadly misinformed. I'm guessing that the second war you're referring to is the War of 1812, during which the Brits burned the Capitol. If there was a different one, I'd be glad to learn about it.)

    For the actual discussion about lingustics, as a Grammar Nazi myself, I'd like to point out that A) written and spoken language are NOT the same, and B) even the rules for "correct" language are always changing. ALL languages are constantly evolving, hence the many, many editions of dictionaries and style manuals. These "rulebooks" NEED frequent updates to reflect how the language changes; it's the language that determines the rules, not vice versa.

    Written language misses the context and expression that adds meaning to spoken word - hence the need for rules to help consolidate meaning. Putting a comma in the wrong place (or omitting it) can entirely reverse the meaning of a written sentence. It's much less common for people to be confused if you pause at the wrong place while speaking. Hence, something that's grammatically incorrect - "Got Milk?", "Think Different," or "Where you at?" - is perfectly comprehensible SPOKEN English, and it attracts attention because it's breaking rules of WRITTEN english. "Think Different" is a long shot from Walt Whitman, but a new way of saying something is well rewarded if you've got the right audience. If everyone accepts "funnest" as a normal word, then there would be no reason for Macintosh to use it.

    Certain words and usage attain connotation. People tend to gravitate toward the way a language is spoken by the more elite economic or social classes or groups that are seen as authorities on a subject - for example, ever notice that the English language contains a lot of French words that refer to food? Also, cultural groups take on dialectic differences... think "y'all" or "ain't." Certainly these words are parts of our language, i.e., everyone understands what they mean, and eventually words like this show up in dictionaries as colloquialisms or jargon. What's more, they may become accepted dialectic differences - just like our American versions of the British words "colour," "flavour," or "aluminium." (AluminIum came first; it's sloppy Americans who started calling it "aluminum." The "wrong" way won out, and today most people never think about it!)

    The factors for language change are many, and often arbitrary. Rules simply help us agree on ways to avoid miscommunication and keep from sounding like an idiot who didn't pay attention in school. But keep in mind that Grammar Nazis disagree with each other, too... almost as often as they disagree with Apple!

     

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  56.  
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    Tony, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 10:39am

    Re:

    Ultimately, it's about communicating the message clearly.

    I would say that "Think Different" accomplished that goal.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 10:55am

    Re: mo betta

    I thought the "liberal left" was made up of ivy-league elitists, not grammar mangling dimwits...

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 12:15pm

    Re:

    The Grammar Nazis probably also blasted those people behind teh "Got Milk?" marketing campaign.
    YOU misspelled THE! No blogging for you!

     

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  59.  
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    J.Locke, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 12:25pm

    Re: As usual...

    "On the one hand, we kicked England's ass in two wars."

    Im not sure "kicked ass" is the right decsription, we really more irritated them until they left.

     

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  60.  
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    JC, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 1:43pm

    PC 'English'

    I hope the 'nazi's' read poetry: Windows is Shutting Down by Clive James

     

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  61.  
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    Rob, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 1:50pm

    Re: mo betta

    Yah and the leader of the conservative right, G. W. Bush, has such a fine grasp of grammar.

     

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  62.  
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    DS, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 4:15pm

    Re:

    "Grammar has no place in poetry, headlines or copy writing."

    I think Bill Walsh would disagree with you on the last two points. Although it is rather odd that you consider poetry in the same vein as headlines and copy writing.

     

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  63.  
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    Liberators, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 12:09am

    Re:

    With a gun pointed at his head, everybody loves you.
    Just make sure you don't run out of bullets.

     

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  64.  
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    Azrael, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 12:13am

    Re: Re: What about AOL?

    Strangely, i learned that rule in 3th grade at my foreign language lesson. That must tell alot about the intellectual level of the average redneck.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    YouKnowNothing, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 5:56am

    Re:

    Marketing trumps all.

    Marketing = Lies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    YouKnowNothing, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 6:01am

    Re: Nazi?

    Actually the total was closer to 11 million, three million of which were Polish Catholics.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    YouKnowNothing, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 6:04am

    Re: Re:

    Jesus who?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    GoodRat, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, probably not. I'm no biblical scholar, but I don't know that there is any historical proof that Jesus was dirtier than the average person of his time.

    But for a moment, let us assume that Jesus was a filthy dirty hippie, as you suggest. I believe I did say that it was possible that the apparently homeless person was a genius, but the most common reaction to that genius was to ignore him before one had a chance to grasp his intelligence. Considering that Jesus was beaten, stoned, and crucified, it would appear that he wasn't taken seriously be the power-that-be of the time either.

    So your argument (and I use that term liberally) is silly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Tyler, Sep 23rd, 2008 @ 10:43am

    Re: mo betta

    "the last bastion of the liberal left"? Really? What does this have to do with the "liberal left"? Absolutely nothing. Thanks for adding absolutely nothing to the conversation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    an, Oct 21st, 2009 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: What about AOL?

    "alot" is not a word!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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