Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shakespeare's probably rolling over in his grave.


RANIELLE makes a very good point--she says: People who shouldn't get paid to write: Those who flagrantly misuse the word "wherefore" in their headlines. I concur!

This is just a mini-rant on this error. For a bigger, better rant, visit John August's site.

Thanks for spotting this one, RANIELLE!

20 comments:

EVula said...

Arg, that's a pet peeve. (comes from doing lots of theatre)

Think about it, people. The line makes no sense whatsoever if she's asking "where's Romeo?"

Grrr.

Carlos said...

As was the first commenter on John August's rant: I'm bristling like a muthafucka! ;-)

Ranielle said...

My pleasure!

It's great to know that I no longer have to feel alone in my frustration and outrage when I spot bad grammar.

Erika said...

Luckily the author is saved by the little black bar. I often wonder who these people are. And where I can apply for their jobs :)

Jeff said...

uh... because that's what the writer chose as a title?

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

@ EVula: I didn't realize exactly how much of a pet peeve this was for people, but WOW--everybody's got somethin' to say about this one! :)

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

@ Carlos: Ha! "Bristling like a muthafucka"...somehow, that kinda has an endearing ring to it.

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

@ Ranielle: Oh, don't worry--you are definitely NOT alone! :)

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

@ Erika: Haha! Names are withheld to protect the grammatically retarded. ;)

That being said, if I ever spot any errors coming from publications in your area, I'll totally give you the heads-up so you can try to steal their jobs away!

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

@ Jeff: Yes--exactly right!

Peter said...

With so much bristling I fear to enter as devil's advocate, but...
Wasn't Shakespeare just a little confusing on this point? Why didn't he write, "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Montague?"
Could it be (gasp) Shakespeare's simple error? Something weird in the evolution of the script from the two known manuscripts? Or -- more likely -- that in 1594 the audience was familiar with the story and strongly associated the name Romeo with Montague? Consider the next few lines:
"Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet."
Of course reading "wherefore" as "where" makes no sense. But what Juliet means is not, "For what purpose are you Romeo?" it's, "For what purpose are you Montague and I Capulet?"
I submit to you, jurors and sentencers, that contemporary citizens must overcome not just the obsolete meaning of wherefore, but a Juliet who doesn’t say precisely what she means. Should a (supposed) professional headline writer know better anyway? Absolutely. But is it capital grammarcide? I suggest you reduce the charge to a misdemeanor.

Bridgete said...

I hate when people mess this up. While I never did theatre, my mother did, so I grew up on Shakespeare. Seriously...I was in trouble once for something I genuinely didn't do and she said "the lady doth protest too much, methinks."

In other news, I found another mistake for you, but I was at work and forgot to write down where I found it. I do way too much research at work to remember exactly where it was, but it's quoted in a memo I wrote so I can figure it out when I get back on Monday. I had to use [sic], which is what made me think of this blog. =)

Brian said...

I think everyone misses the impending horror this article warns us of.

Jude Law and Katie Holmes will play the leading roles. Soon to be in a theater near you.

"A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!"

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

@ Peter: You're right, Shakespeare was definitely a little confusing when it comes to all of this. :) I didn't think this would be an entry that would get people so fired up, but apparently this is a pet peeve of a lot of people...I was surprised! :)

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

@ Bridgete: That little anecdote about your mom is too cute! :) And I can't wait to see the fun mistake you found for me--thanks!

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

@ Brian: Isn't Katie Holmes too busy on Broadway and with her Scientology crap to be starring in crappy movies? Let's hope this is the case, anyway.

Brian said...

In the terms of modern day English there is an argument that Shakespeare's writings are grammatically incorrect and in violation of certain rules. But in the time that it was written many of the current rules were not applicable, and in fact had not even been created.

The dialect of English used n Shakespeare's time was different than that used now, and was not even yet called: The King's English. Shakespeare himself created a large number of words that are still in current dictionaries.

In China the two predominate dialects are Cantonese and Mandarin. But a non-native speaker wouldn't be able to tell the the two apart because the differences are so subtle. Often a word in both are the same, the only thing setting them apart being a slight difference in the way the word is pronounced.

Over time all languages undergo change, new words are introduced and become an accepted part of the lexicon: 'Hecka,' 'Battle Rattle'. Words are dropped completely or in favor of new ones that take their meaning.

Both my aunt an uncle were Shakespearian stage actors for over forty years. It was a little much for a six year old to completely take in but I remember my uncle explaining the differences and meanings of the writings. The best explanation however, was that Shakespeare's writing was art not a term paper. In all art license is taken, because in art there are no rules. It was his explanations over the years that enabled me to more easily read and understand The works when others struggled.

Okay, I gotta go, the bong's getting cold. (This mighta' helped too.)

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

@ Brian: Are you insinuating that you read RPI while you're stoned? Drugs must make all the crappy grammar even funnier, right? ;)

Re: your "art has no rules" comment...this reminds me of one of my favorite quotes..."Art is what you can get away with." (Andy Warhol)

Brian said...

The only drugs I'll take are the one's in front of me.

Warhol's rule works for dating too.

I gotta go, the cat's having another bad trip.

I told her not to do two tabs this late at night.

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

That cat probably thinks she's fallen down the rabbit hole. Trippy!