Egregious grammar mistakes

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Wednesday 10 August 2005 10.29am
Nando's is building a new outlet under the arches next to the Anchor Pub (by the Globe Theatre). In addition to their future pollution of the local atmosphere with the smell of chicken grease, they are currently polluting minds with their annoying advertising at the construction site. They have put up a potted history of Britain that attempts to tie various trivial facts with their product. Fair enough, I suppose; the advertising is neither misleading nor inherently offensive. The problem is that the person who wrote the ad copy seems to have absolutely no sense of how to write correctly. It is riddled with elementary grammatical mistakes that make me want to either tear the whole thing down, or at least to add corrections with a big marker pen. Ideally, I would send the person responsible back to primary school, but I don't suppose that this would be possible.

The mistakes range from ignorance of how to use apostrophes ("like the Roman's did") to syntax and comma placement that changes the meaning of the sentences, in ways that the author probably didn't intend ("Henry VIII authorised the boiling of women, who had murdered their husbands, in oil.").

Wednesday 10 August 2005 10.45am
This is just rubbing salt into the wound. The fact that we are to get yet another outlet selling bland, battery farm chicken disguised in over-spiced sauces is bad enough. Suggest we do a night time 'grammar correction raid'. Banksy decorated the wall on the West Bank in full view of the Israeli security guards, so surely we can have the courage of our convictions and undertake this small thing for the sake of our childrens education, if not their diet.

However, given my own knowledge of grammar and punctuation, I'll be guided by you.
Wednesday 10 August 2005 10.53am
cyoung66 Wrote:
> ...syntax and comma placement that changes the meaning of
> the sentences, in ways that the author probably didn't
> intend ("Henry VIII authorised the boiling of
> women, who had murdered their husbands, in oil.")

Am I losing the sensitivity in my pedantic antennae?

Although its style is clumsy, the grammar of that sentence appears to me to be unambiguous. It also seems to be factually correct - presumably it is a precis from some history of the Clink .

"In 1530 Henry VIII legalised boiling in oil for women who had murdered their husbands. They were usually strapped to a pole before being dropped into the oil, although the jailer could decide to put them into cold oil and boil them slowly. "

Or are the commas missing in Nando's version?

Wednesday 10 August 2005 11.03am
Because of the comma placement, the ad implies either that all women had murdered their husbands, or that Henry authorised the boiling in oil of all women.

I think that the author meant to say "Henry VIII authorised the boiling in oil of women who had murdered their husbands."

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 10 August 2005 11.06am by cyoung66.
Wednesday 10 August 2005 11.18am
I think, cyoung66, that the author's intended meaning is also a possibility. From the context it is clear which of the three meanings the author intends although it is as clumsy as you could require.

But then your using 'egregious' in Cool Britannia deserves your boiling in oil too!
Wednesday 10 August 2005 11.48am
You are right, of course. The problem is that the very clumsiness and ambiguity of the sentence defeats the author's aim of appearing clever.

What's wrong with egregious? Too many syllables? Or just too high-fallutin'?

More importantly, how did I turn into a grammar nazi?
Wednesday 10 August 2005 2.25pm
When I walked past the Nandos billboard last week, someone had actually 'marked' it with a pen, and there was a poor chap having to clean it off, and take everyone's sarcastic comments as well.

Oh dear.
Wednesday 10 August 2005 2.58pm
It wasn't me!

I found Lynne Truss's book amusing (though I disagreed with her ideas about possessives), but am not up to the grammar guerilla tactics that she advocated.
Wednesday 10 August 2005 3.42pm
The main thing is that bloody Nando's is going to stink London out shortly. With or without commas. We should know, our terrace and our courtyard in MCH REEK all the time, the place smells like a chippy. Poor Anchor Pub.
Friday 12 August 2005 9.42am
Egregious is egregiously highfalutin (sic), but then so is highfalutin.

Do you really expect to be educated by, or all people, Nando's ?
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