What You Will

Another Burma Shave billboard on the information superhighway. Random thoughts about arts, faith, culture, music, language, literature, and the shortcomings of the Hegelian dialectic. (OK, just kidding about that last bit.)

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Location: Edmonds, Washington, United States

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Probably Bad News: Definitely bad grammar

We all love to make fun of newspaper gaffes. It's been standard fare on the Tonight Show since your uncle was in diapers.

So it comes as no surprise that there's a blog devoted to this pursuit, Probably Bad News.

However, there's an inescapable irony in mocking poorly written headlines when one's own masthead contains a grammatical error.

That's right, kids, "fails" is a verb, not a noun. Yeah, dude, I know it's all, like, hip and trendy to say "fail" when you really mean "failure," but isn't standard English and probably never will be, because it makes the language more confusing and not less. There's also no earthly reason to capitalize the F in "Fails" on this masthead, since the subhead is clearly intended to be in sentence case. That's two blunders on one word. Then there's "Established MMDCCLXII." In case you were interested, the Roman numeral works out to 2762, which is either a bad joke or a heinous error—take your pick.

Any fool can point out obvious mistakes in journalism, but it's a special kind of fool who fails (ha ha, I'm so clever) to correct his (or her) own mistakes in the process.


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