Grammar rant

From a letter dated July 21st, 2008:

“You have been pre-selected for an auto line-of-credit to purchase or lease a new vehicle between $4,000 and $28,000 from Superior Honda of Omaha. Feeling special, you should, not everyone qualifies for this deal, but according to Direct Lending Source, you do.”

Let me count the ways.

First of all, I must go on a tangent that has nothing to do with grammar or punctuation. This is the auto dealership that (three years ago) tried to sell me a used Honda Civic Hybrid that they couldn’t get rid of. Despite the fact that it had several thousand miles on it, the salesman insisted he could sell it for no less than the exact asking price of a brand-new Civic Hybrid. So the odds of me buying a car from this dealership are pretty darn slim.

Anyway. On to grammar and punctuation.

First crime? Overzealous hyphens.

Evidence #1: “pre-selected”. Yes, I know; all the credit companies do it. But if they jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too? Don’t answer that. It’s “preselected”. Use your dictionary.

Evidence #2: “line-of-credit”. It’s “line of credit”. Use hyphens only if writing a sentence like: “The bank gave me a line-of-credit increase.” In the letter, the line is a noun. In my example, it is an adjective.

Second crime? Suicide by comma.

Evidence #1: Let’s just take another look at that second sentence. “Feeling special, you should, not everyone qualifies for this deal, but according to Direct Lending Source, you do.” Does that look right to anyone? Does it even make SENSE to anyone? I had to read it twice before I made out the author’s meaning:

“Feeling special? You should! Not everyone qualifies for this deal, but according to Direct Lending Source, you do.”

Commas cannot simply replace other punctuation marks! If they could, what would be the point of periods, question marks, etc? In a situation like this, comma usage obscures, rather than clarifies, the author’s meaning.

Ostensibly, Mr. Greg Barnhardt (the Business Development Manager of Superior Honda) wrote this letter. It is unlikely he will ever successfully woo me back to Superior, but poor writing such as this will never do it.

He needs to read Eats Shoots and Leaves.


Tags: , , , ,

4 Responses to “Grammar rant”

  1. Dixie Says:

    Sometimes I think that they have a bunch of monkeys writing these ads. In general, I have found that commas are either over-used or never used. Is that hyphen used correctly? ; )

    The Eats, Shoots, and Leaves should be mandatory reading for 7th grade English class and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington should be watched in the social studies class. I think I learned more about the law-making process of the United States government while watching that than I did in my senior year government class.

  2. fractone Says:


    I’ve never seen “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”. Is it good?

  3. Dixie Says:

    Yes, it’s very good. I thought it was about time I watched it, considering all the popular references to it, and I do like Jimmy Stewart. It was excellent, and even though it’s from the late 30s, still very relevant today. There are only a handful of antiquated elements in the film. I recommend it!

  4. Dixie Says:

    Was in B&N the other day and they had a kid’s version of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves! Check it out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: