Weird Al is one awesome artist, and this is my favorite song from him. A parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” “Word Crimes” details many of the grammar mistakes that drive me absolutely crazy. In fact, when I first heard the song, I was making a mental list of authors on FanFiction.Net to send it to.
I thought I’d make a list here of what “word crimes” drive me crazy . . . and which ones I’m guilty of. Here we go!
The Worst Word Crimes (According to Rosie)
- Writing without paragraphs. You know, when someone writes and entire wall of text that’s so bunched together it’s impossible to read. It can physically give me a headache.
- Run-on sentences. Those sentences that just seem to go on forever and ever without any kind of punctuation and by the time the sentence is over you’re not even sure what the author was saying in the first place and you really can’t follow any of this and you start to get tired or your brain finally gives up. See, wasn’t that awful?
- Incorrect capitalization. Like when someone doesn’t use any uppercase letters at all, or when they capitalize every single noun in the story. Both are way too hard for me to read.
- Emoji writing in stories. I’ve seen it once. I’m scarred for life.
- Not using question marks. This is the punctuation “crime” that really makes me mad. If you have a question, use a question mark! Got it? See? Doesn’t that make sense now?
- Using letters like b, c, r, and u in place of be, see, are, and you. I’m fine with it in a text, but if you’re writing a story, do not write like it’s a text. Those do not belong in prose.
- Incorrect punctuation in dialogue. You use quotations marks around speaking, and if it’s a comment or command, you use a comma. Example: “Go pick that up,” Jane said. Note the placement of a comma instead of a period at the end of the dialogue.
- Using literally in a figurative sense. I hate that it’s technically allowed now. The dictionary should not change for teenage girls who think grammar is some kind of African fruit. Literal and figurative are opposites. End of story.
Oh dear, now for my admission. Just slap the handcuffs on me now.
Rosie’s Word Crimes
- Misspelled words. Thank heavens for spellcheck. There are several words I can’t spell, including but not limited to: Prisoner, soldier, capitalization, opinion, ambulance, pieces, disappear, similarly, decision, position, and literally.
- Mixing up homophones. Yup, I’m that jerk who mixes up you’re and your. I know the difference, trust me, but sometimes I do get them wrong. Usually I can catch it before I post, but sometimes they slip through. Other homophones and words that are spelled similarly will occasionally get mixed up in my writing as well. (Than vs. then, though vs. thought vs. through, etc.)
- Misusing the word irony. I didn’t even know it was wrong until a few years ago. I get very proud of myself when I use it properly now.
- Skipping words in a sentence. I type too fast–that’s my excuse. My brain thinks twenty words ahead of what I’m currently writing, so sometimes I’ll leave other words out. I miss words way much.
- Using too many commas. For the most part, I think I’ve gotten this pretty much under control, but I swear commas are the devil in punctuation form.
- Passive voice. This is something I’m currently working on, but I’ve realized just how much I use it. Not proud of it; like I said, I’m working on it! (And I’m failing already. There I go again!)
- Overusing a certain word. Currently, it’s the word “just.” But I’ll often fall into the habit of using the same word over and over again. “However, “that,” and “then” are also good examples.
- Good vs. well. This is more of a real-life grammar mistake than a writing one. I always say that I’m doing good. Eh, whatever. (Sometimes I do mix them up in writing too.)
That’s a lot of honesty right there. Hope you appreciated me showing you that it’s only because of editing that my stories turn out as good as they do. Now, let’s turn the tables.
- Which word crimes drive you crazy?
- Which word crimes are you guilty of?
Come on, don’t be shy! You know you’re guilty. Confess now and I won’t call the grammar police. Leave me a comment and let me know! What are your deep, dark, grammatically incorrect secrets?