Friday, February 24, 2006

Grammar lesson

I have been criticized for writing with bad grammar on this blog. I apologise wholeheartedly. It's such a tricky thing to get right though, and with those GCSE English lessons many years behind me, who is going to teach me now?

I was pondering this today while standing in the queue at the supermarket checkout. I was in the '10 items or fewer' queue. I am positive this used to be the '10 items or less' queue. Which is correct? Is there a difference in the meaning?

(It's not quite the same thing but at Christmas Currys changed their catchphrase from 'Currys, always cutting prices' to 'Currys, always lowering prices'. It was a bit silly - they tried to shoe-horn the new word 'lowering' into the same tune and it just didn't fit.)

I have read 'Eats shoots and leaves' and came to the conclusion my skills weren't too bad. Now it seems my readers have seen fit to point out I am far from perfect. I apologise, but would request that grammatical errors are allowed to pass unmentioned, as you would if you noticed a big pulsating spot on the end of my nose. Acknowledge it internally but look away politely.


Blogger Chris said...

"10 items or fewer" is correct. I guess what you are saying if you use the phrase "10 items or less" is "10 items, or 10 of something else that isn't quite as big as an item." If you see what I mean.
Like, if you have 5 people that are angry, and one of them becomes less angry, there are still 5 angry people, but as a collective they are less angry than before. But if one of them was eaten by a lion, there will now be 4 angry people, so now there are fewer angry people. But each of those people is still just as angry as before. Probably more so now that one of them has been eaten by a lion.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Tony Ruscoe said...

Eats Shoots and Leaves is a great reference book as well as being a nice, easy read.

I'm currently half way through reading Eats, Shites and Leaves which is actually quite educational, despite being a parody.

Just dont get me started on apostrophe's whatever you do...

3:09 PM  
Blogger rach said...

Still don't really get it. I understand it when applied to angry people becasue you can have varying degrees of angry-ness, but you can't have varying degrees of a banana. Well I suppose you could. You could have less banana. The '10 items or less' queue would have to be for people who had half-eaten items of shopping in their trollies.

It's all so complicated

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Suzie said...

Hope you don't mind me saying Hi - I asked the question 'What's your favourite website?' on and was given this one as the answer! Was it you?

6:46 PM  

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