grammar-grousing girl

If you were one of the dozen or so people who ended up reading Quirk, the magazine prototype — and labor of love/hate — I worked on this spring, then you might remember my feature about grammar bloggers. I interviewed the creators of The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks, Apostrophe Abuse, and The Perplexikon, who all had thought-provoking and witty things to say about language, humor, and the bitchy nature of the blogosphere.

Bethany Keeley, proprietor of The “Blog”, had especially entertaining tales of the aforementioned bitchiness, including anecdotes about commenters arguing over the acceptibility of the word “till” and a woman who created a website solely to call out Keeley and others for wasting their time talking about such frivolous topics. (Ah, irony.)

Keeping that in mind, gentle readers, please don’t be angry with me for what I have to get off my chest: I hate it when people don’t hyphenate correctly.

Oh sure, there are other mistakes that drive me absolutely batty (see the above sites for examples — especially the apostrophes. Sweet lord.), but the hyphen thing is especially relevant today. Why, you ask? Because this weekend brings us the terror that is known as:

image from

image from

Yes, Law Abiding Citizen. Not Law-Abiding Citizen. Law Abiding Citizen. Ugh. Just typing that makes my whole body convulse in disgust. I don’t pretend to be a language expert, and I certainly wouldn’t classify myself as a snob. I don’t know my participle from my preposition, and that’s fine by me. But there’s a right way to write, and a wrong way to write. And this, my friends, is all kinds of wrong.

As G.O.B. Bluth would say: Come on!

Annie Barrett, my blogger in arms over at EW and the person responsible for alerting me to this grammar tragedy, set off quite a firestorm in the comments (ah, there’s the trademark bitchiness!), and unearthed a few interesting nuggets of information along the way.

First, there’s a theory that the hyphenation was left out intentionally as some sort of message about the movie’s meaning. (But that still doesn’t mean seeing the title won’t make my skin crawl). Second, there are more movies out there missing their punctuation, namely Two Weeks Notice. (Though according to this ridiculously in-depth debate, that might not necessarily be true. And here’s where my brain starts to cave in and the caring ceases.)

Feel free to share your own punctuation woes — as well as other movies in this dubious category — in the comments.


3 responses to “grammar-grousing girl

  1. Good call on Law Abiding Citizen. The lack of hyphenation bothered me, too.

    I did not read the debate about “till,” but here are my thoughts: It’s not a word, unless you’re talking about soil or (possibly) a cash drawer. If you’re shortening “until,” then it should be spelled ’til. I would be willing to negotiate the inclusion or exclusion of the apostrophe, but I prefer it. The important thing is that you don’t put the extra L on the end. If you’re shortening a word, why would you add a letter to the end? It doesn’t make any damn sense.

    Last thing: You don’t know your participles from your prepositions? We might have to break up.

  2. I find this frustrating, too, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone. In all of Hollywood there is not one editor or writer who could do some side work double-checking movie titles? Heck, I’ll do it — Lord knows I could use the extra cash.

  3. Considering that I could barely complete a ninth grade comma worksheet the other day, I’m in no position to pretend to know anything about punctuation.

    However, I do know that there’s no need for the extra ‘Bluth’ up above. G.O.B. = George Oscar Bluth.

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