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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Companies: apple

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Comments on “Grammar Nazis Continue To Blast Apple”

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Gunnar says:

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?”

A. Nonymous says:

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.

Mike (profile) says:

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…

And that’s just in the last month alone.

The Mighty Buzzard says:

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.

Wellington and Nelson says:

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?

AJ says:

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

Dave says:

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.

asdfasfsd says:

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.

ash says:

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.

GoodRat says:

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.)

GoodRat says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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!”

A professional editor says:

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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