Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crispety? How cutesy!

Well, looky here. Not only have the language mavens in Nestle's creative department added two new terms -- crispety and crunchety -- to the English lexicon, but they've also attempted to translate those words into Spanish.

Actually, I know enough Spanish to tell you that their "translations" are the Spanish equivalents of crispy and crunchy. So why bother to create the new words in English?

Do we English-speakers need our candy descriptions shaken up in order to want to buy more of it? Does a crispety, crunchety Butterfinger bar appeal to you more than a crispy, crunchy one?

Not me. Cut a coupla hundred calories off each bar (without changing the taste, of course) and then talk to me; otherwise, don't expect some fancy new words to make a new or bigger sale. Besides, we all know that hardly anyone actually reads the package, right? We want Butterfingers, we look for the bright-yellow bag with big blue letters. It could say Buttfingers and almost no one would notice (with the exception of copy editors -- and maybe some 8-year-old boys, who, as I know from experience, are obsessed with the word butt).

Crispety and Crunchety belong in the Graveyard of Desperate Marketing Terms, along with Baconator, Smell Gooder and Landfill (as a verb). I know there are more. Won't you add your favorites to the list?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

To whom it may concern

If you're a tweeter, as I am (but just barely), then you've seen the Twitter banner page. If you're an anal-retentive grammar nerd, as I definitely am, then you've been bothered by said banner page.

Who to follow. This is wrong. Who, in this case, should be Whom. It is the object of the verb follow.

Who is correctly used only in the subjective form, that is, when it's the subject of the sentence, e.g., Who is the best one to follow? Who is the subject of the sentence, similar to he: He is the best one to follow. (No, I'm not being sexist; of course she also works, but I'm using he for a reason, which you'll soon see.)

In the objective form, when it's the object of a preposition or verb, who becomes whom: Whom should I follow? Follow him(Notice how they both end in "m" -- that's the trick I use, and that's why I'm using only the male pronoun here.) You wouldn't say Follow he, so you similarly shouldn't say Follow who? or Who should I follow?. (You could also turn the sentence around to figure out which is right: I should follow him (whom).)

Now, if you're my father-in-law, you simply bellow "WHOM!" whenever you hear who used incorrectly. And you charge a nickel for each offense. Generous person that I am, I'm sparing you -- and Twitter -- that expense.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Because we were driving 70 mph on the highway toward Omaha for a family wedding this past weekend, I was not able to snap a photo of the largest typo I've ever seen. So let me describe it for you. A semi for some kind of company named Robinson had its name emblazoned on the back of the truck in probably 2-foot-high letters as such: ROBINOSN.

No kidding. Now, I can understand a typo in an email or other typed document (although I would hope even a lame spell-checker would catch something like this) -- but on the back of a big friggin' rig?? There's no excuse. And am I to believe no one had noticed it yet? Or the company just doesn't care enough to fix it? Pathetic, either way.