Friday, April 8, 2011

Grammar Ninja

Just a little bit of background: STOMP is having a grammar ninja contest, which I alerted the ninja's (ninja) in my HL3 class too, and we found an error.... in a user submission. This is the short back and forth between STOMP and me (And the original letter is not by me, obviously. My linguistic capabilities are far from this)

Dear Eustacia,
Please note that the sentence you have picked out is part of Azmiah's entry to the contest.

As such, his suggestion might not necessarily be correct.

This is why it is labelled 'correction suggested by Azmiah'.

2011/4/7 eustacia tan <>
To whom it may concern:

I write to bring to light an error on the "Grammar Ninja" competition page of STOMP, which I do believe may be considered a public place for all relevant purposes; after all, the page is readily accessible (and hence public), and -- although clearly incorporeal -- one is said to "visit" the page, allowing it to be considered as a 'place', albeit perhaps not a physical one. 

It is all the more pertinent that mistakes on a page pertaining to a contest whose participants so clearly purport to "fight against bad English" be quickly identified and corrected. While browsing the entries -- and the relevant suggested rectifications -- I noticed a somewhat ironic error on the submission of one "Azmiah". For elaboration, refer to the attached image.

The implication made in submitting said entry, that the statement "our business are closed from..." might be even remotely grammatically correct, is a grave affront to the sensibilities of anyone with even a rudimentary command of English grammar. The noun "business" is clearly singular, and hence -- in keeping with the building block of grammar, subject-verb agreement -- must be paired with, in this case, the singular intransitive form of the irregular verb "be"; that is to say: the word "is". Using the plural form "are", as Azmiah has, should under no circumstances be allowed.

Applying grammatical principles in the manner suggested above, the actual correction should thus be "our business is closed from...". 

Thank you.

Yours truly -- and with no small amount of concern,

Eustacia Tan

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