Better pull over: It’s the grammar police

I started my career as a copy editor at a daily newspaper. It was a job that I spent college preparing for, and I loved every minute of it. Correcting grammatical errors gave me an incredible thrill — yes, I was a sick, sick human being — and writing clever headlines was the cherry on top of my dream job.

Outside of work, I still found myself correcting grammatical errors everywhere I went. Restaurant menus were the worst, especially the ones written in “Engrish”. Signs in store windows were always bad, too. But the ones that offended me the most were public signs — street signs, points of interest signs, etc. I always thought that those signs reflected the nation and as such should use proper grammar.

So I was delighted to read that at least two others shared my obsession with the English language and how it gets butchered around the nation. Unfortunately, they acted on their obsession and got caught and got prosecuted.

The two 28-year-olds toured the United States and corrected grammatical and punctuation errors on public signs during their trip. They were featured on NPR, which called them, “”a pair of Kerouacs armed with Sharpies and erasers and righteous indignation.”

All that ended when they were caught correcting punctuation errors on a historic sign inside a 1930s-era watchtower in the Grand Canyon National Park. They were sentenced to probation, banned from national parks for one year and must pay $3,035 to repair the sign.

I feel for the guys, I really do, but I wish they had just followed my lead and quietly seethed about the horror of poor grammar. Or at least don’t mess with historic signs.

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~ by amarvin on Sunday, August 24, 2008.

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