Friday, February 20, 2009

Grammar Police

Once a quarter, we have a formal board meeting, during which the founder of our company comes for a visit. To prepare for this meeting, we publish a very long, very involved board book, which contains updates from every major division of our business. It’s my job to proofread, make copies and assemble (with Mary Tyler Moore’s sometimes haphazard help) 40 of these books.

Our owner (who needs a fitting name… we’ll call him…Richie Rich) is a stickler for grammar, punctuation and overall language (a man after my own heart). I once drafted a letter which he revised – there were so many revisions, my paper looked like it had been massacred. So when we create his board book, we are meticulous in ensuring it is correct. We even make sure there are no errant marks or smudges on the paper or the book itself. Like I said. Met.ic.u.lous.

My official “boss” Bad News Bear (she thinks delivering bad news to people is her official role in life and does it with gusto, but that’s another blog), always gives me her report – a 14-page monstrosity – in the worst possible condition. There are days that I dream of just printing it as-is and letting Richie Rich unleash his wrath on her, and ask how a woman managed to become an executive without learning how to punctuate, capitalize, spell, or at least use spell check. Here are just some highlights from her report:

“during this time of staff transision” – Yes, spell check would have worked here.

“working with th.e staff” – Maybe the period in the middle of the word really emphasizes THE staff?

“key performance indicastors” – This should have read “indicators,” however she must have been thinking of rolling something on wheels when she wrote it?

“we’ll high level review of illness and is specific to treatment being offered onsite” – Um….what??

“The purpose of the team is clarify how to urgent assistance when needed and is particularly helpful in situations…” – Apparently “urgent” is now a verb. Good luck with that.
“The therapists’ instruction to the patient that exercise and being active is the first line treatment for the condition readily escapes our patients’ reasoning” – Now this isn’t necessarily wrong, it’s just a bitch to read. Perhaps one of the ugliest sentences ever.


P.S. The Bad News Bear has a little bit of a cold, and when she wants sympathy, she exaggerates the gravelly voice brought on by the cold. The remainder of the time (namely when she’s chatting with her friends in her office), she talks normally, and you can barely tell she’s sick. I hate when people do stuff like that to try to drag out the comments of “Oh, I’m so sorry you feel bad! Why don’t you go home and rest?!”

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