Monday, September 17, 2012

Is It Too Much To Ask?

Grammar, people, grammar!

For God’s sake, can’t we at least use good grammar when writing copy that will be broadcast far and wide?
The 1949 musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” by Anita Loos with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Leo Robin has a funny song titled “A Girl Like I”. In 1949, the audiences were expected to laugh at the grammar faux pas and they always did. It was such an expected laugh-getter that when Loos wrote her autobiography in 1966, she called it “A Girl Like I”.
This past weekend, I heard a McCafferty Ford (Langhorne, PA) ad on KYW Radio, and it starts out with someone saying, “Maybe you, like I” blah-blah-blah. Doesn’t anyone check out grammar when these guys write their ads?
Newsanchors on TV continually use subject pronouns in error just because they sound classier.
The other evening, Philadelphia’s Jim Gardner on Channel 6 said something like, “”It went to she.” Subject pronouns cannot be used after prepositions just because it sounds refined. It’s true that most of us say “It’s me” when talking and someone in our lives no doubt has repeatedly told us, “Don’t say that…say, ‘It is I’”. And that may be why we think subject pronouns are always the correct choice. But subject pronouns are never correct after “to” or after “like”. That’s the rule.

And another thing…why can’t newspersons pronounce simple words like vulnerable and deteriorate and use all the letters in the word? There is an “l” in “vulnerable”…it is not “vun-er-able”. Same thing with “deteriorate”. It is not “de-ter-i-ate”.

When we are engaging in normal person-to-person conversation, we all break grammar rules and that’s not a bad thing. I am not complaining about that. But writers of ads for radio and TV and those who write copy for teleprompters used on news shows get to monitor what is broadcast before it is spoken. Cannot these people at least be grammatically correct? Cannot they at least inform the speakers of their words how to pronounce words correctly? Cannot newsanchors who write their own copy be monitored?

Is this too much to ask?

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