"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for approval, I can tell you I don't have any. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills -- skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you leave my language alone right now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will punctuate you."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Is A 36-Pack One Item?"


I usually only post about abuses of our language, but this one time I wanted to give a shout out to an anonymous sign-maker who got it right.

When we first moved to College Town, and started occasionally shopping at the nearby Safeway, I was slightly off-put by this express lane sign. "Fewer" just sounded odd to my ears. Then the dimly remembered rule about fewer vs. less began to surface from the muck of my mind.

I double-checked with Grammar Girl, who explains these things much better than I can (because I'm lazy), and she confirmed what I already knew but had forgotten.

So kudos to this Safeway - which is in the most studenty neighborhood of a very studenty town - for setting a higher standard for grocery stores. After repeated trips to this market to replenish their ramen noodle and beer supplies, maybe this one rule will stick with these youngsters when they go out into the real world.

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