Magazines and flyers are constant sources of grammatical errors and other interesting blog material for The Essay Expert. This week I’m writing just a few examples of what I found in the ads populating a recent Madison’s DollarsandSense coupon flyer. These examples are good reminders to pay attention to your writing!
1. Ad for ChoreCare (www.ChoreCareMadison.com)
Original text: “All jobs & work is customized to meet your needs.”
Commentary: Jobs & work are two things and the verb should therefore be plural.
Correction: All jobs & work are customized to meet your needs.
This error is very common and I find myself making it more often than I’d like to admit. A few days ago, I wrote, regarding the improvement to one of my client’s resumes: The other bullets show his success on both the artistic and strategic side of marketing.
I quickly caught my error and changed “side” to “sides,” since I was talking about two sides – plural!
What makes this one slippery is that in speech, we often do not distinguish between the singular and plural in situations such as the ones above. I see this as another example of purist vs. progressive language (see Top 10 Obsolete Grammar Rules – by Steven Sawyer).
Whether you are a purist or a progressive on this one, I encourage you to pay attention and make a choice, rather than make a blind potential error. Please share if you find yourself challenged by this issue!
(click for full size ad)
Commentary: Is this line an intentional joke? It seems the writers might be unaware that they have made a pun on “Delivery Date.” How can there be a pre-birth delivery [of a baby]? OH… a *diaper* delivery. I get it.
Is it just me, or does pre-birth remind you of afterbirth (the placenta and fetal membranes that are normally expelled from the uterus after the birth of the baby) — now that’s something I don’t want delivered to my door! I just don’t like the phrase “Pre-birth Delivery” at all, even if it was intended to be clever, which I’m not convinced it was.
My suggested correction: Reserve a Diaper Delivery Date Today!
Now that’s cute, and it plays well on the word “Delivery” without being downright perplexing.
3. Ad for Sierra Concepts, LLC Basement Waterproofing Specialists
Commentary: I realize “crack injection” is a trade term, but really! Am I the only one who immediately calls up an image of desolate streets and needles and crazed looking drug addicts?
My suggested correction: $50 OFF Basement Crack Repair.
Boring, maybe. But it gets the point across safely.
What are your favorite examples of incorrect or funny ads? Please share them here!