Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grammar Problems

Two years ago, and again this year, I have been struck by and giggled at the gross grammatical error on the Jarjura campaign signs. The phrase is: Jarjura - Still the "right" choice.

Now, I understand why right is in quotation marks. It's intended as a reference to Jarjura having once been a write-in candidate. However, it looks ridiculous to anyone who knows grammar.

When a single word is placed inside quotation marks, the quotation marks imply irony or reservation. Specifically, when placed inside quotation marks, the implication is that the opposite is true, that Jarjura is not the right choice.

I was a little dismayed to see the grammar mistake reappear this year. It's a minor error, but in a city with struggling schools, it's very embarrassing to see our incumbent mayor make such an error.

The Jarjura ad which ran in today's Rep-Am got rid of the error by switching the slogan to Now the Best Choice, but instead put quotation marks around Proven Record, implying that he doesn't have a proven record, and added the grammatically foolish statement And Mayor Jarjura and his Democrat Team DID NOT RAISE YOUR TAXES IN 2010. Of course they didn't. 2010 hasn't happened yet, therefore that statement is impossible (and confusing for future historians!). Presumably the statement was intended to refer to the city's most recent budget, but that is not specified.

As with all grammatical issues, most people probably don't care, while those of us that do are driven crazy by it.


Sophonisba said...

My mom and I have been guffawing about the inappropriate use of quotation marks on signs for years, and we've noticed that it happens a lot in New England (since we are originally from KY, we tend to notice these differences-- not to say that Kentuckians speak or write any better...most likely worse!). The quotes thing seems to happen when the message would be correctly expressed by underlining (i.e., putting a special emphasis on one part of the sentence). Actually, come to think of it, my grandmother does this too, so maybe it isn't Northern. I wonder how this started happening. i always notice old people doing it, or it appearing in places old people hang out, like fried seafood restaurants ("Fresh" Scrod Today!).

Anonymous said...

Although you are right that it is not intuitive, his statement about not raising taxes refers to the current Fiscal Year (2010) and the fact that the mill rate was left flat in the FY 2010 budget.