I got a mailer from a diaper company today. It claimed that a new feature*
Ahem… WHAT?! Okay, I realize I may be the ONLY person living who gets this anymore (or who cares), but that is completely nonsensical. Sure, it sounds fine when you read it aloud, but it’s NOT. Here’s the difference:
- A baby has sensitive skin. Singular
- Babies have sensitive skin. Plural
- Baby’s sensitive skin chafes. Singular possessive
- Babies’ sensitive skin chafes**. Plural possessive
Or, to put it this way, it’s the different between saying “we sensitive skin” and “our sensitive skin.” Now, doesn’t that sound awful?
And to add insult to injury, they continued:
- My husband, Ryan, is wonderful.
- Although I’ve never tried it, I dislike escargot.
You can drop the comma’d words or phrases and these sentences still make sense (My husband is wonderful. I dislike escargot.)
Let’s try it with the ad now. “Swaddlers New Baby ‘Absorb Away’ soft-weave mesh liner, helps wetness and runny mess pass through it and into its super absorbent core.” becomes “Helps wetness and runny mess pass through it and into its super absorbent core.” Hm….
Or, as one of my history professors put it, “Never separate a subject from its accompanying verb with a comma.”
Into the paddywagon, Pampers.
Suspect #2. I have here one of the most awesome marketing direct mailers I’ve seen in a long time. Perhaps ever. It’s an Adventure Passport—a small, very cleverly designed booklet that touts Utah Valley’s attractions. I’d love it more if it weren’t for a few poor copy edits. Among other errors:
Do you have any open positions for a copy editor, Convention and Visitors Bureau?
Can you tell I’m a member of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar?
*Apologies to non-moms (and moms) who pale at the thought of “runny mess” in or outside of a diaper.
**Chafes is conjugated as singular because I decided that skin is a mass noun here. Babies’ two skins? No.