Strunk & White: Grammar Police
September 23, 2015 1:01 PM   Subscribe

BEAT COP
It’s over here, detectives. The body was found about an hour ago.

STRUNK
Use the active voice, rookie.

Strunk & White: Grammar Police (The Millions)
posted by salix (44 comments total) 83 users marked this as a favorite
 
"When I was in New York, I fell in love with some wild ideas in the shape of a woman. An English teacher, who was hard, but hard like a job I never wanted to end. But to her, I wasn't nothin' but a day at the office. That's what they call a Double Negative." (previously)
posted by Rhaomi at 1:12 PM on September 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


They might be needed in Chicago...
posted by miles per flower at 1:16 PM on September 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


STRUNK (coldly)
It’s “whom,” motherfucker.

This line is awesome.
posted by tommasz at 1:21 PM on September 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


Squeeeeeee! This was delightful. Thank you for sharing!
posted by Ashen at 1:23 PM on September 23, 2015


This seems like its the best?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:26 PM on September 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


STRUNK The Crossword Killer?

WHITE Yeah. And look, he’s getting more confident. This time, he used a pen.


Worth it just for that.
posted by three blind mice at 1:28 PM on September 23, 2015 [16 favorites]


This could be an un-produced Prairie Home Companion sketch. I love it.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:31 PM on September 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


STRUNK fires between the KILLER’S eyes. He tumbles off the rooftop, screaming.

Ambiguous antecedent.
posted by Kylio at 1:33 PM on September 23, 2015 [45 favorites]


So, Strunk and White was one of my required texts when I was in grad school for publishing. I LOVED this and just posted it everywhere.
posted by chatongriffes at 2:03 PM on September 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not even a good languager, but I enjoyed the hell out of that.
posted by bolda at 2:32 PM on September 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


POLICE CHIEF
I’m not talking about the goddamn grammar, I’m talking about this investigation! If you two don’t make an arrest soon, I’ll have your asses in a sling!
WHITE
Don’t you mean “slings,” Chief? I mean, if asses is plural–


It could just be a big sling.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:44 PM on September 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


Obligatory Elements of Style link.
posted by Camofrog at 2:49 PM on September 23, 2015 [3 favorites]




I would watch thus movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:04 PM on September 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I see what you done there.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:05 PM on September 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ack, it's September and I forgot to tag it as my second FPP. I am terrible at decloaking!
posted by salix at 3:06 PM on September 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


They might be needed in Chicago...

"Officials also stated that an innocent 35-year-old passerby who found himself caught up in a long-winded dispute over use of the serial, or Oxford, comma had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound."

Worth it just for that.
posted by fuse theorem at 3:11 PM on September 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'd like to talk to someone in internal affairs!


For I have information.
posted by clavdivs at 3:21 PM on September 23, 2015


If prescriptivism is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
posted by clvrmnky at 3:22 PM on September 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


If prescriptivism is wrong, I don't want to be right.
posted by Flashman at 3:46 PM on September 23, 2015 [23 favorites]


I haven't clicked the link yet and already I'm grinning.

*peers at sentence structure before posting; hits post with apprehension*
posted by sidereal at 4:04 PM on September 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


And not a panda to be found. Perhaps they haven't yet caught him.
posted by a halcyon day at 5:48 PM on September 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sorry, Sidereal, but you need a comma before that coordinating conjunction.

*I just survived a punctuation class by the skin of my teeth and am determined to share the pain.*
posted by SLC Mom at 6:28 PM on September 23, 2015


That comma is optional in short phrases. What's a short phrase? Nobody ever really says.
posted by Camofrog at 7:01 PM on September 23, 2015


I just survived a punctuation class by the skin of my teeth and am determined to share the pain.

The Skin of My Teeth is the worst. I had her for fourth grade.
posted by srboisvert at 7:51 PM on September 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fuck Strunk and White, imma be Serpico to the lackeys for privilege and prescriptivism!
posted by klangklangston at 8:13 PM on September 23, 2015


As an editor by day, this screenplay is like wallowing in glorious, intellectual filth. Obviously, I love it. Such elegant swearing. Such moxie!

*swoons*

and hey, the comments are actually worth reading. I appreciate when a site looks cleaner than a Realtor's pool on different devices (e.g., Vox).
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:59 PM on September 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Somewhere, E.B. White is, equally and at the same time, delighted and mortified.
posted by e-man at 9:20 PM on September 23, 2015


I forgot to tag it as my second FPP.

salix, you can add (and remove) tags after you've posted.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:41 PM on September 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


BEAT COP
It’s over here, detectives. The body was found about an hour ago.

STRUNK
Use the active voice, rookie.


How would one fix that, without additional information? There is no subject for the active voice.
posted by CaseyB at 9:58 PM on September 23, 2015


There's always them for this kind of thing.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:37 PM on September 23, 2015


Footnote: Strunk, 30 years older than White, died in 1945 in a NY loonie bin. An overly dramatic denouement

"In 1959, White edited and updated The Elements of Style." Aha, so it was -not- a collaboration. Glad I got that cleared up.

Their little missal did wonders for my Writing grades. Another side effect was a cold disdain for Thorstein Veblen. Those who are paid by the word better stay away.
posted by Twang at 2:46 AM on September 24, 2015


This is completely wonderful.

It reminds me of this episode of Inspector Morse, in which the case hinges on an "illiterate" suicide note.
posted by ZipRibbons at 6:04 AM on September 24, 2015


BEAT COP
It’s over here, detectives. The body was found about an hour ago.

STRUNK
Use the active voice, rookie.

How would one fix that, without additional information? There is no subject for the active voice.


That's why passive voice is bad. It makes it too easy to obscure information. Who found the body may well be important, but the beat cop can elide his lack of knowledge.
posted by Etrigan at 6:10 AM on September 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's why passive voice is bad. It makes it too easy to obscure information. Who found the body may well be important, but the beat cop can elide his lack of knowledge.

So rather than "The body was found an hour ago!" you think it's better to write "Someone found the body an hour ago!", thereby losing the iambic pentameter?
posted by sour cream at 6:48 AM on September 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Somebody set us up the bomb.
posted by Wolof at 6:51 AM on September 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


OMGF bring in some emoticons to spice up that dialogination.
posted by sammyo at 7:07 AM on September 24, 2015


That's why passive voice is bad. It makes it too easy to obscure information. Who found the body may well be important, but the beat cop can elide his lack of knowledge.

Mistakes were made.
posted by tracicle at 7:23 AM on September 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


Active voice: "Here's the body we found about an hour ago, detectives."
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:52 AM on September 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here's a way to add active voice to that sentence!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:10 AM on September 24, 2015


thereby losing the iambic pentameter?

I think that you should count again. My friend.
posted by aureliobuendia at 10:55 AM on September 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


This was loved by me.
posted by scratch at 11:13 AM on September 24, 2015


I think that you should count again. My friend.

Oh dear, the word "about" was left out by me:

"The body was found about an hour ago."
posted by sour cream at 2:42 AM on September 25, 2015


For this to be accurate, the Strunk and White police would have broken most of their own rules.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:27 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


« Older Super Metroid FAQ/Speed Guide   |   HA, the "New" TV Comedy Network Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments