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Letter from a Grammar Nazi

Letter from a Grammar Nazi

By Miss Marm

When I'm not Miss Marming, I'm editing posts, including those composed by the glorious Dan Bergstein. That means when you're on SparkLife and you think, "That sentence makes no sense," "Why is that paragraph above that one?" "They mean 'it's,' not 'its," or "This isn't funny," it's all my fault. So this email from Sparkler Samantha made me blush with shame and tear up with happiness at the same time (this reaction might have something to do with the orange Dayquil surging through my bloodstream):

I am a natural born grammar-Nazi and feel the need to bring your attention to a small grammatical mistake in one of the recent posts:


From "25 Issues Politicians Should Address":
"4. Each package of Skittles should have more red candies and less yucky orange ones."
"7. We need more mountains and less TV shows about weddings."

These statements are grammatically incorrect.  They should read "fewer yucky orange ones" and "fewer TV shows". "Less" is for something you can't count (like air), and "fewer" is for things you can count (like Skittles).

Maybe politicians should also employ grammar Nazis to keep the world safe from the battle of Less vs. Fewer.  Or, I should just write a blog about it and try to have it published on SparkNotes.

I apologize if I sound rude.  I love SparkNotes, I promise!

Sincerely,

Samantha, lover of all things SparkNotes

Samantha, you don't sound rude. In fact, you sound like a brilliant angel. It warms my cold, dead heart when sharp people like you notice our grammar errors. I'm particularly ashamed of myself for making the now-notorious orange Skittles gaffe, because the incorrect use of "less" in place of "fewer" is one of my own pet peeves.

I know you won't mind when I point out that there's no need to hyphenate "grammar-Nazi" (though you should hyphenate the phrase "natural-born" when it's used as an adjective). Also, it's our house style to place punctuation marks inside close parens, unless we're including a citation, as in "fewer yucky orange ones" (Bergstein).

Sincerely,

Miss Marm, your fellow grammar maven and lover of all things Sparkler

What are your grammar pet peeves?

Topics: pet peeves, grammar nazis, less vs. fewer, skittles
 

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