Visit from the Grammar Police

Grammar police car

The Grammar Police: Always vigilant in protecting the world from bad writers. Image courtesy of kconnors, Morguefile.

POLICE STATION–INTERIOR

POLICE CAPTAIN: Okay, people, it’s time to lock up this bad writer. He’s committed multiple grammatical errors for years — misplacing his modifiers, running on his sentences, mixing up his pronouns, and messing up his subject and verb agreements. And worse yet…

GROUP OF POLICE OFFICERS: Yes?

POLICE CAPTAIN: He’s been dangling his participles! In public! (POLICE OFFICERS gasp.) Go get him. (POLICE OFFICERS race for their vehicles. Sirens begin to wail.)

HOME–LIVING ROOM INTERIOR

OFFENDING WRITER: (busily typing on computer keyboard, muttering to himself while listening to music through headphones):Β Okay, just a few more words and then I’m done… (OFFENDING WRITER jolts and rips off headphones as door is smashed in and POLICE OFFICERS stream into the room.) What the….?

POLICE OFFICER: FREEZE! Drop that keyboard!

OFFENDING WRITER: Umm…is there a problem, Officer?

ANOTHER POLICE OFFICER: Yeah! Your grammar is in serious trouble, mister. This city’s had to suffer your lousy writing for years. You’ve committed almost every grammatical error on our books and your spelling stinks! You’re an embarrassment to your company and to writers everywhere. How dare you call yourself a professional writer.

OFFENDING WRITER: I’ll stop! I’ll stop! Please, please, don’t take me in.

POLICE OFFICER: Too late. Our purpose is to serve and correct. Book him. You have the right to remain silent…(Miranda warning continues asΒ OFFENDING WRITER is handcuffed, escorted to the back seat of a police car and driven to police station.)

JAIL CELL–INTERIOR

(Cell door opens and OFFENDING WRITER walks into jail cell as cell door clangs shut behind him. OFFENDING WRITER confronts intimidating INMATE.)

INMATE: So, what are you in for?

OFFENDING WRITER: Dangling my participles, among other things. You?

INMATE: I’ve got this problem with apostrophes. Just can’t control ’em. (leers at OFFENDING WRITER)

(OFFENDING WRITER slowly backs away into corner, looking terrified.)

COURT ROOM–INTERIOR

JUDGE: OFFENDING WRITER, you’ve repeatedly broken grammatical laws and created a public nuisance. I sentence you to 10 years in grammar prison. Use the time wisely to fix your bad writing habits. Or get an editor, for crying out loud!

OFFENDING WRITER: (sighs resignedly) Yes, Your Honor.

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29 Comments

Filed under Writing

29 responses to “Visit from the Grammar Police

  1. HaHaHaHa…..love this. It made me think of my red-headed high-school English teacher who was forever correcting my incomplete sentences and run-ons. Joke is on her, though. Yesterday, I was listening to a BEAUTIFUL excerpt from a newly published book….full of such….but clear, soaring and beautiful prose. Now, having said that….a good editor IS a writer’s best friend!

  2. travelrat

    Are the ClichΓ© Police a branch of these guys, or are they a seperate organisation? πŸ˜€

  3. I am so, like, offended at you. πŸ˜‰

  4. If only we really could send a grammar and spelling swat team. Throw the book at them. Throw MANY books at them! Include a dictionary!

    Loose vs. lose, ARGH!
    LESS vs. FEWER OMG!!
    AMOUNT vs. NUMBER, yikes.

    Get a rope! Hang ’em high!!! Hang them all!!

    This public service message has been brought to you by …

  5. Ha ha! This was great. Thanks for the giggles.

  6. Make ’em read there sentences and see the errors that are in their.

    πŸ™‚

  7. Ahh, you’re back to attacking my beloved friend the dangling participle.

    Dangling participle sounds like it’s out having a good time. Now the apostrophe comes under attack and they are so cute.

  8. I had to edit a report once in which Dutch banks were creating a detachment pool for the lower-qualified functions. Mind you, it was spelt beautifully. Loved your post. It made me laugh out loud.

  9. Went merrily along for years without being aware of the grammar police. I finally joined a writing group who clued me in. Now, when I look back on some of my earlier writing I cringe. Wish I’d met the GP’s sooner. Thanks for a laugh.

  10. We called them the comma police. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to get anything done in government, largely because there are so many levels of clearance. The last document I wrote cleared every level, and still came back after I had retired. Do I miss it…no. Dianne

  11. Up-cracked me you with writing funny. πŸ™‚
    Funny stuff. I love reading your blog.

  12. This is so funny.
    Bet some drama teachers could use this for their one act play competitions.
    Could be the opening act for all high school English teachers on the first day of school, too.
    Career opportunity! These days you really can make a living if you understand and use proper grammar.
    (Seeing all the school buses these days – classrooms on the mind)

  13. Nice bit, and a bit of fun too. And some of the comments are right on spot! Loved the idea of the one-act play competition.
    Whenever we exchange anecdotes, a friend of mine (she teaches history and Hebrew) always says that we teachers (I teach English as a foreign language) should not despair, for one day not far from now we will be making loads of money. That is, given the appalling use of language here in Brazil and the crumbling educational system. Even college graduates manage to shock you as they write, or even speak. I’m not so hopeful, though, because most colleagues won’t listen (I am not a native speaker of English, as if that could guarantee anything) and most locals won’t be bothered (or listen, again, for I am “a foreigner” and there is no way in their minds I can possibly spot mistakes they make, especially in writing). I’ve been telling them for some time, just as an example, that punctuation is not optional and that especially commas are not like oregano leaves that you sprinkle over a margheritta pizza before serving. To no avail.
    Only yesterday I was listening to some classical music on YT. Among the commentators, all refined, educated individuals, most of them instrumentalists and music professors, there were several “you’re comments”, “your right when you say”, “American’s are”.
    Shivers.
    As to writers, what to say? Shudder to think. Maybe “their just write” and “editors like your not there grammer roll model anymore” πŸ˜‰
    Cheers from a wannabe

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