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Friday, October 28, 2011

Glamour & Grammar & the Duchess of Cambridge

Welcome to the second edition of Glamour & Grammar, the blog series in which I address grammatical failures in pop culture.

Allow me to begin with the thought process I went through before writing this post:
Is it okay to correct the grammar of royalty?
Yes, just not to any royal faces.
Is it okay if the grammatical errors in question were made in a letter to a young cancer patient?
No, probably not.

But if it were okay, then I'd point out that Kate Middleton's been having some comma trouble lately.


I would let you know that the comma trouble surfaced in a note Kate wrote to a little boy whom she met in a children's cancer unit. I might even post the note on my blog and turn the problem areas purple.


Dear Fabian, 

I very much enjoyed meeting you at The Royal Marsden hospital last month. Despite the enormously demanding course of treatment you are undergoing, I was so touched by your strength of character, and delighted to hear the news that one of your big sisters will be able to donate bone marrow to you later this year.

I will keep my fingers crossed that your health goes from strength to strength over the months ahead. This must be a troubling time for you, your parents and your sisters, but I know I left The Royal Marsden assured by how incredibly talented, kind and clever the team at the hospital are. Combined with your belief and positive energy, you couldn't be in better hands.

Keep up the good work with the blog and in the meantime I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Catherine

I would explain that "and" provides sufficient separation for "touched" and "delighted" in the first highlighted sentence. The comma between those words is unnecessary.

I would also explain that a comma is needed in the second highlighted sentence. A measly "and" isn't strong enough to carry an independent clause on each side. Like any coordinating conjunction, "and" needs a sidekick comma if it hopes to balance a compound sentence.

Sidenote: I really wanted to say a "prevenient comma." Thank you, Christian theology class.
p.s. I'm not Arminian.
p.p.s. I'm not Armenian either.
p.p.p.s. Christian theo was my favorite class in college. I wish I could take it again. #thingsineverthoughtiwouldsay

I might close my argument by reposting the sentences with correct punctuation:
"I was so touched by your strength of character and delighted to hear the news...."
"Keep up the good work with the blog, and in the meantime I will keep...."

At this point I would probably feel like a horrible person for critiquing a letter to a cancer patient.
I might even decide to give Kate points back for being a classy lady.


There is, of course, the possibility that someone other than Kate Middleton penned typed this letter. If England is anything like America, someone other than Kate Middleton probably typed this letter. 

I have a letter of my own for that person:
Dear That Person,
Clearly you are in need of a public relations practitioner who handles punctuation aptly. Look no further. I have a degree in public relations and 15% of a degree in journalism, and I know how to place a comma. You can reach/hire me via the contact link at the top of this blog.
Grammatically yours, 
Kate, Duchess of Commas

5 comments:

  1. Dear Duchess Kate,
    Do prevenient commas cover everyone's grammatical mistakes, despite whether/weather/wether commas are being mistakingly used? Are all writers covered by this prevenient writing grace?

    Sincerely,
    Michael, a common peasant (or pheasant or pesante)

    ReplyDelete
  2. i still can't believe you corrected the grammar of a letter written to a young cancer patient. haha. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. this was great, Kate. {rhyme unintentional.} i especially loved your letter to the Person Who Probably Typed the Letter from the Duchess of Cambridge - i wasn't even past "Dear That Person" before i was laughing hysterically. i absolutely love this series!

    p.s. dear that person,
    let it be known that i endorse kate brannen for the position of public relations practitioner who handles punctuation aptly.
    sincerely,
    annie, countess of eschewing capitalization

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I like this! Especially that part about Christian Theo being your favorite (and your not being an Arminian).

    I think it’s funny that that letter went public somehow.

    ReplyDelete

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