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Correcting Your Behavior Since 2017

Our Declining Language (part 8 in an endless series)

Hello again, fellow curmudgeons. It's been a while since I shared gems from my vast collection of damning photographic evidence of linguistic atrocities. We're overdue. And this time, they're all from the same unforgivable source. A few weeks ago, I attended a screening put on by the SAG-AFTRA/WGAE Film Society. Don't worry, I'll translate. That's the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists/Writers Guild of America East Film Society.

Now . . . I don't know . . . maybe I'm just a picky old Curmudgeon, but it seems to me that anything associated with English-speaking actors (who use words regularly) and writers (who put words together) ought to be presented in perfect (or at least passable) English. Alas.

Here are some of the on-screen messages that preceded the film. You might note some issues.

Oh, where is my proofreading pen? The singular/plural disagreement, the bizarre alignment, the inexplicable spacing, the jarringly awkward writing . . . the marked-up version would be a sea of red ink.

Clearly this statement is true, as neither the lost punctuation nor the missing capital letter has ever been recovered.

It's been a while since I was in school, but I'm fairly certain that "not" and "during" aren't proper nouns. I'm happy to note, however, that "blah" is spelled correctly.

Again, I ask you to keep in mind that this screening was associated with The Writers Guild. The Writers Guild. God help us.

So very many questions: Monday's and Tuesday's what? Why is Guests Name capitalized, with no apostrophe? Well, I could go on, but we'd be here all day. I must say, though, considering their guest policy has so many rules, it's a wonder they can't manage to follow the basic rules of English.

For heaven's sake. Could they perhaps screen a film about proper punctuation and capitalization?

Oh, believe me, I'm ready to join a committee, all right. And I can assure you that I'll bring me bright ideas.

Friends, I close this gallery of goofs with a public service message: If you know anyone who is involved in writing text that will be seen by the public, please (if for no other reason than to decrease my stress level), implore them to work with a professional proofreader. I do. And I'm not even a member of the Writers Guild.

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