“During the 12 years she spent at a
“When she was nine months’ pregnant with her first son in 1984…”
“ ’I didn’t have a minute to spare, therefore, I don’t think I wasted any minutes.’ ”
Can you tell me what’s wrong with each? Just in case: The first one should be “no fewer than”, the second should have no apostrophe after “months”, and the third sentence should have a semicolon after “spare”. The Times!
BUT there is a happy ending to my story: Upon e-mailing the Times of these egregious errors, a very nice man replied within two hours. He apologized, said he’d send the corrections to the editor, and offered to send me a copy of the NYT Manual of Style and Usage for my classroom! I’ll let you know if I receive it. I have to say, the Times really redeemed themselves there, although somebody should’ve caught the errors.
On that note, my friend L. and I are planning on becoming champions of grammar, Grammar Warriors, if you will. Our alter egos will be Mechanics Maven and Captain Comma. Our boss will be Lynne Truss, and we will travel the world stamping out unnecessary apostrophes, fixing split infinitives, and reminding the world that, while language is “evolving”, as the linguists say, there is still a standard to adhere to, dammit! We could have outfits and secret weapons, like comma-shaped darts to blow at signs where necessary and pens that double as stun guns for rampant abusers of the English language. Anyone who wants to join is welcome. Just don’t tell who I am; as my secret identity I am very mild-mannered and it might shock all who know me.
Dorks—er, Grammarians Unite!