Weird Al Yankovic is back. I mean, he’s BACK.
Like a cyclone of sarcasm, the comic tore through YouTube in July with eight song parodies in eight days. His album, “Mandatory Fun,” also reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard chart — the first time a comedy album has topped the Billboard chart in 50 years.
As a hopeless grammar nerd, my favorite Weird Al video is “Word Crimes,” a send-up of a popular Robin Thicke tune, “Blurred Lines.”
Weird Al’s grammar-happy spoof is full of great tips (ex: it’s “to whom” and not “to who”). The comedian’s music video prompted me to expand the list with seven more writing mistakes 20-somethings make all the time.
Are you guilty of these “word crimes”?
1. Add an apostrophe to make a word plural
Plural words don’t contain apostrophes. Ever.
It’s not “Monday’s are the worst!”
It’s “Mondays are the worst.”
And yes, they are.
2. Capitalize the wrong words
Don’t capitalize words like Industry Conference because they feel “big” or “important.” They aren’t proper nouns.
You would however, capitalize the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention & Career Fair, which started July 30.
Why? Because NABJ is a specific thing and should be uppercase.
3. Begin a new paragraph with a pronoun
New paragraph starts:
“It taught me…”
What is “It”? I have no idea.
“The Microsoft internship taught me…”
Remind the reader what you’re talking about. Again, use specific nouns because vague pronouns confuse people.
4. Call yourself an “individual”
Resume mission statement:
“I am an individual who is passionate about the environment and educating people on…”
Sounds like you’re part of a medical study. Too rigid.
“I am passionate about the environment and educating people on…”
That’s more natural.
Also see: 9 Worst Items to Put on Your Resume
5. Passive. Freaking. Voice.
“Paying close attention to detail had been worked on a great deal by me.”
Please. No more passive voice. Just…no…more…
Find the subject (“I”) and lead with it. Active voice sounds more confident.
“I know the importance of paying close attention to detail.”
Yes, you do NOW.
6. Misuse the word “their”
“I learned a lot about the company and their approach to customer service.”
Wrong. “Their” would refer to a plural noun.
“I learned a lot about the company and its approach to customer service.”
“Company” is singular. Always refer to your subject and then choose its or their.
7. Put commas in the wrong places
“I worked alongside Director of Communications, Karen Smith.”
No need for a comma there. “Director of Communications Karen Smith”
Or this one:
“I am free for coffee this Tuesday, are you around at 9 am?”
Those are two different sentences. Cut the comma.
“I am free for coffee this Tuesday. Are you around at 9 am?”
Did I miss any “word crimes”?
Featured photo: YouTube
July 17, 2014
Step-by-step instructions on how to say a lot with a little.
August 5, 2014
Be eager to learn. That's enough.