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Perfect Duluth Day Spelling, Punctuation and Proper Usage Police

From time to time the geeks who comment on this website will get into arguments about grammar, spelling and so on. It doesn’t happen too often, but when it does it kind of excites certain people while it embarrasses and annoys others. Some people just love to show off their mad English skills, while others don’t care if their capable of getting there sentences from here to they’re properly.

With that in mind, this post has been created as a bitching ground for uptight word nerds.

Don’t let this post stop you from creating your own post to showcase public blunders in the future, it just seemed like this type of stuff needs a home base.

Here are some related posts from the past:
Really? And I had my hopes up …
Need Fun!
Great food. Bad punctuation.
Unnecessary quotation marks are sometimes disturbing
A Small Request

To help this discussion along, we’ve started the “Perfect Duluth Day Writer’s Guide,” as a handy reference to Duluth-related nouns that are frequently botched.

Let your ranting begin.

100 Comment(s)

  1. Ooh … you almost got me on the their/they’re swap. I had it all typed up and everything.

    Question | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  2. Let’s argue about how to pronounce “Carmody.” I get irritated by folks who want to call it “Car-MAAAAA-Dees.” With a horrible second syllable. WTF? As Eddie wrote in 2009, it’s “karma-dee eye-rish-puuub.”

    Drew | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  3. I just want everyone to agree that A LOT is two words.

    Rae | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  4. I just want Black Water to fix the atrocious use of the apostrophe in “Martini’s.” Please. I’m begging.

    emmadogs | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  5. That still hasn’t been fixed? Someone with a ladder and a sharpee needs to correct that some evening!

    Bad Cat! | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  6. Spelling is truly a lost art, and grammar… The only people who correctly use the English language anymore are people who learned English as a second language.

    Sherman | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  7. Black Cat, you’re absolutely right.

    Tonight, if you see someone on the scaffolding with a can of black paint…just, you know, look away. It’s nothing. Nothing to worry about. Certainly not.

    emmadogs | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  8. …except how can I be snarky about spelling, when I MISSPELLED BAD CAT!?!?!


    emmadogs | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  9. If you really like to get your knickers in a twist over other people’s bad spelling and grammar, spend about 10 minutes scrolling through Craigslist ads.

    A few of my favorites include “bran new,” “rod iron,” and “lawn more.”

    I agree with the “ALL CAPS” issue too, and would like to add the “no capitalization or punctuation” issue. That’s fine if you are texting your BFF, but not if you are trying to communicate effectively with the rest of the world.

    Elden | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  10. elden,

    unless your name is e.e. cummings…

    davids | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  11. E. E. Cummings can suck it.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  12. That’s “little e’ and “little c” to you, pal.

    emmadogs | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  13. Whatever, Emmadogs and Davids. Are your shift keys broken or something?

    How dare you come to the PDD Spelling, Punctuation and Proper Usage Police without capitalizing your names? Come to think of it, maybe your self-opinion is accurate and you’re not worthy of capitalization.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  14. eek!

    emmadogs | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  15. I’m a troll on my own post!

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  16. arguably e e cummings was not communicating efficively with the rest of the world but merely the snooty intellectuals that he and his bffs hoped to sip tea and eat krumpets with…alot (Rae)…and i should probably add about three hundred more words to this run on sentence but i really have nothing further to add of value but to at least comment that e e cummings at least used punctuation fairly well in his run on sentences

    Elden | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  17. Umm--elden, isn’t that ‘c’ as in ‘crumpet’, not ‘k’ as in ‘i kan’t spell’?

    See how everything just seems to flow into little e’s and c’s and martini’s? just ask e.e.c.
    On the other hand, if paul says not, then not. he’s been trolled! :-)

    emmadogs | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  18. well, according to the almighty Wikipedia, E.E. Cummings usually spelled it with caps--it was his publishers and fans who most often used lower case--and if you look at the photo of his gravestone his name was EDWARD ESTLIN CUMMINGS (all caps) so…i just want to see how many punctuation and capitalization rules i can break here, so that’s that…what a fun little troll post to play around in…yum, here’re some commas and apostrophes and flies in my soup…and elden…i’ll argue that mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful don’t just resonate with tea-sippin’, krumpet krunchin’ snooty intellectuals--after all, a local band that described itself as “the drunkest, sweatiest, fattest, hairiest, most endearing live local band of the 1990s” in the 2011 homegrown field guide named itself “Puddle Wonderful,” I suspect in some kind of homage to mr. cummings…so there!

    davids | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  19. “Paul Lundgren” has this “website” where people post “intelligent” commentary on Duluth.

    Chris | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  20. If there is no Carmody, then why does it say Carmody?
    Carmody is clearly a name.
    That’s just like saying it’s Gramma instead of Gramma’s.

    carla | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  21. I loathe that apostrophe error at Black Water. In fact, I have not gone there due to that apostrophe. Perhaps, though, if I enter the door, I will find that something belongs to that martini. People who work for sign and screen printing businesses need to hire editors.

    speechie | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  22. Whoops. Correction for the pedantic ones: I should enter through the door, not enter the door.

    speechie | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  23. Carmody is a reference to an Irish surname, but there is no specific Carmody being honored by the bar name. The owners could have chosen to call it Carmody’s, but they didn’t. It’s Carmody.

    I suppose we should include in this thread that the Pioneer Bar was briefly named Hero’s instead of Heroes — as if there were some guy named Hero running the place.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  24. I’d have to say the most misspelled word is “Lose,” most losers spell it as “Loose.” But there are some Loosers that spell it the uther wey to.

    Les Nelson | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  25. In Duluth, we may go to the lake to go rock hunting. At night, we may go out to see a rawk show.

    Touchdown | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  26. My favorite, though likely just a typo, is “Opps”.

    Question | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  27. Just don’t use no double negatives or prepositions to end a sentence with.

    TimK | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  28. Ah, I was subconsciously confounded about crumpets due to my childhood fondness for Tastycake butterscotch “Krimpets”. Darn those witty (pesky) phonetic spellings that poison our minds.
    davids: I actually have nothing against either (pronounced ee-ther) E.E.Cummings, nor (sic) e.e.cummings, for neither (pronounced nayh-ther) his litterary aspirations, nor the tea-sipping aspirations of he (him?)or his friends and/or admirers, but was taking advantage of the generous invitation, extended by our host, to be a bit trollish.

    Elden | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  29. When do we start hammering “Prince” for his phonetic spelling, none capital letter at begining of the sentence stuff? u no what i mean?

    Bill | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  30. Wikipedia might insist that e.e. cummings actually capitalized his name, but I have strong evidence from Yahoo! Answers that suggests otherwise.

    Barrett Chase | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  31. But seriously, folks. If you’re writing about the local band LOW, it’s important to capitalize every letter in LOW just like you do when you write about the TV show LOST and when you write about the deity GOD.

    Barrett Chase | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  32. and STOP…don’t forget to capitalize all the letters in the word STOP.

    zra | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  33. I’m waiting for this thread to get racial.

    Danny G | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  34. Okay, I’m here to bitch for the sake of bitching. LSC and DBU are the only two local colleges excluded from the list of common Duluth acronyms. If this is not fixed promptly, I will be forced to return with insults.

    Tom | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  35. My all-time favorite spelling error was a sign my sister saw at Dayton’s:

    The stationary department has moved.

    bluenewt | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  36. Speechie, please enter through the doorway. Thank you.

    cohohobo | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  37. Cory Fechner | Aug 11, 2011 | New Comment
  38. Just realized this tonight. Duluth News Tribune is no longer (if it ever was) hyphenated. DNT is a common acronym for it. And that’s all I have to say about that.

    Adem | Aug 12, 2011 | New Comment
  39. Duluth News Tribune was hyphenated (News-Tribune) until about ten years ago. The change happened around the same time the University of Minnesota Duluth dropped its hyphen (Minnesota-Duluth). The University of Wisconsin-Superior still uses a hyphen.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 12, 2011 | New Comment
  40. “I don’t give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way”…I agree with mark Twain on that one. Poor grammar and spelling errors make me smile and feel I have found another kindred spirit.

    People will not take you seriously, no matter how brilliant your ideas, if your writing is full of misspellings…All the same I ran this one through spell check before posting.

    aleasha | Aug 12, 2011 | New Comment
  41. My pet peeve are those framed ads that some convenience stores, like Holiday, post directly over their urinals. As if reading about RV dealers while holding your wiener isn’t bad enough, the authors of those ads often leave them full of spelling and punctuation errors as well.

    Ramos | Aug 12, 2011 | New Comment
  42. Mightily enjoy ‘fore paw’ for ‘faux pas’ as well as this example from B Kliban:

    woodtick | Aug 12, 2011 | New Comment
  43. Nice to know so many people are annoyed by the Blackwater Martini’s sign--so when it is finally fixed-- there will be many suspects!

    Francene Starr | Aug 12, 2011 | New Comment
  44. Ahem. Black Water. Two words.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 12, 2011 | New Comment
  45. Ahem. Verbs?

    TimK | Aug 12, 2011 | New Comment
  46. Ahem. I’m just clearing my throat.

    Tom | Aug 12, 2011 | New Comment
  47. Aaack thbbft! Oh, wait. That’s Bill the Cat.

    adam | Aug 12, 2011 | New Comment
  48. Based on the theme of the interior décor, we can deduce that the name of the “Lost in the 50′s” bar in Superior refers to the 1950s, so it should be “Lost in the ’50s.”

    The need to include the surroundings of the place in this photo prevailed over a closeup of the sign.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 18, 2011 | New Comment
  49. This one kills me. But until recently, the NY Times would approve of this use. It is exactly what they called for in the style guide from 2000. After they started an online forum with copy desk people, I think a clamor rose and they changed the style to no apostrophes. Salts on the desks there could give no reasonable explanation on why an apostrophe was needed, except that it eased confusion in ALL-CAPS headlines that were no longer being used in the paper except on 9/11 and other Page 1A biggy stories.
    Everything changed in 2006.

    From one of the Blog entries from the NYT desk in the spring of 2007:
    As to the question above (and frequently submitted) of why we put apostrophes in decades (the 1960′s) and in the plural of some all-capitalized initialisms (DVD’s), the answer is we don’t anymore. Phil Corbett, the deputy news editor who is in charge of the stylebook, eliminated those anachronisms last October, with this comment:
    Our main reason for using the apostrophe had been to avoid confusion in all-cap heds, but with those heds long since eliminated everywhere but Page One, that rationale is no longer compelling. And the apostrophe annoyed many readers, who thought we were mistakenly using a possessive form instead of a plural.

    Spy1 | Aug 18, 2011 | New Comment
  50. Seen yesterday in Lakeside:

    “Huge kid’s sale.”

    bluenewt | Aug 21, 2011 | New Comment
  51. Given today’s economy, and lifestyles, maybe there was an enterprising (and self-effacing) young tubby looking for some McD’s money by selling his Pokemon cards and too-small Big Wheel? Heh.

    spy1 | Aug 21, 2011 | New Comment
  52. That’s kind of what I picured, Spy -- a folding table with some junior XXL clothing.

    Or kind of a Monty Python thing with a 17-foot-tall baby tottering around and stomping on the shoppers.

    bluenewt | Aug 21, 2011 | New Comment
  53. @ Paul--ahem! — I never noticed Black Water is two words, as I was always too preoccupied with (by?) the darn apostrophe…

    francenestarr | Aug 21, 2011 | New Comment
  54. Sir Ben’s now has some new awnings apparently, and there are a few inappropriately placed apostrophes.

    moosetracks | Aug 21, 2011 | New Comment
  55. The new awning at Sir Benedict’s is horrible. Nearly every plural noun contains an apostrophe. It killed me to enter that bar on Saturday night.

    The Friendly Old Knifey | Aug 22, 2011 | New Comment
  56. It is pretty bad. If you weren’t sure which restaurant you were going to, some might think it could be Salad’s.

    moosetracks | Aug 22, 2011 | New Comment
  57. Sir Ben’s is hilarious now.

    adam | Aug 22, 2011 | New Comment
  58. “An apostrophe is the difference between a business that knows its shit and a business that knows it’s shit.” ~ Sam Tanner

    Anna | Aug 24, 2011 | New Comment
  59. Oh man, I saw the Sir Ben’s debacle last night. Tradition’s. Dessert’s. Etc. How did the awning maker allow this to happen?! And why didn’t they put “Shitty Service’s?” on the awning?

    -Berv | Aug 24, 2011 | New Comment
  60. Someone please post a pic.

    Spy1 | Aug 24, 2011 | New Comment
  61. The terrible spelling, punctuation, and grammar of the local TV stations drives me nuts too. Maybe it has something to do with the way they write up the script and type it into the teleprompter and whatnot, but it would literally take like one minute to rewrite a story into proper English before posting it online. For example, look at this. For such a tragic story, you’d think the Northland’s NewsCenter could have the decency to at least clean up the writing a bit. I count no less than seven glaring mistakes, plus seven random ellipses.

    Tom | Aug 24, 2011 | New Comment
  62. Not to mention that the reporter in the video calls him a “three sport captain at Duluth Denfield High School.”

    Seriously, that’s another thing that bugs me. Why do people feel the need to insert an “i” into Denfeld all the time? Learn to read, morons.

    Tom | Aug 24, 2011 | New Comment
  63. I just saw the Sir Ben’s awning this afternoon. It literally got me to laugh out loud as I drove past. I hope someone gets around to fixing it, but considering how long the Black Water mistake has been up, I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be around for a while.

    Chad | Aug 24, 2011 | New Comment
  64. I made a special trip past Sir Ben’s tonight just to see the errors. Wow, serious apostrophe carnage. Tradition’s! Import’s! Domestic’s! Salad’s! Brew’s!

    It reminded me of this Dave Barry tidbit from Tips for Writer’s:

    Dear Mister Language Person: What is the purpose of the apostrophe?

    Answer: The apostrophe is used mainly in hand-lettered small business signs to alert the reader than an “S” is coming up at the end of a word, as in: WE DO NOT EXCEPT PERSONAL CHECK’S, or: NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ITEM’S. Another important grammar concept to bear in mind when creating hand- lettered small-business signs is that you should put quotation marks around random words for decoration, as in “TRY” OUR HOT DOG’S, or even TRY “OUR” HOT DOG’S.

    bluenewt | Aug 24, 2011 | New Comment
  65. “It’s time to eat, Grandma!”
    “It’s time to eat Grandma!”

    zra | Aug 24, 2011 | New Comment
  66. Here are the requested Sir Benedict’s … um … photo’s?

    By the way, “homemade” should be one word, but we might as well not get into the small stuff on this one.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 26, 2011 | New Comment
  67. Finally saw these after a trip to the Brewhouse on Thursday. We laughed ourselves silly. The next day, I saw the awnings without the benefit of too many stouts. It was then that I realized: a)this is just plain depressing, and b) suddenly, Black Water looks all classy and stuff.

    emmadogs | Aug 27, 2011 | New Comment
  68. Stunning.

    spy1 | Aug 27, 2011 | New Comment
  69. Amen! I just wonder how much they paid for those awnings. I would be asking for my money back.

    HelloSquiddy | Sep 16, 2011 | New Comment
  70. It’s the Prøve Gallery, not the PROVE Gallery. It’s Allete, not ALLETE. It’s Maurices, not maurices. I’m glad we’ve finally cleared up these recurring capitalization issues once and for all.

    Paul Lundgren | Jan 12, 2012 | New Comment
  71. Hey. I keep typing pr-zero-ve, and a magical elf fixes it. Can you teach me to fish on this one? | Jan 13, 2012 | New Comment
  72. The easiest way to get the “ø” character for Prøve is to find a post on PDD where it exists and then copy and paste it. I don’t think I ever found the key command for it; initially I probably copied it from some Norwegian site.

    Paul Lundgren | Jan 13, 2012 | New Comment
  73. Actually, the easiest way to get the ø character is to key in the code, which is an ampersand followed by “oslash” followed by a semicolon. No spaces, remove the quotes.

    Here’s a list of character codes. As for keyboard shortcuts, they vary by system.

    Barrett Chase | Jan 13, 2012 | New Comment
  74. What about AMSOIL Arena?

    Option+o is the easiest.

    adam | Jan 14, 2012 | New Comment
  75. Amsoil Arena. I forgot that one.

    And some of us don’t have an “option” key, which is what makes option+0 not the easiest.

    Paul Lundgren | Jan 14, 2012 | New Comment
  76. AMSOIL’s trademark and corporate communications style convention dictates all caps (eBay is not Ebay, just because it’s a proper noun. Or is it?).

    Dave P | Jan 15, 2012 | New Comment
  77. I think the point is more that companies are trying to make their names more noticeable by using unique, stylizations that go against the norms of the English language. Why should AMSOIL and ALLETE be capitalized? They’re not acronyms for anything. But they sure stand out in a news story if you write them that way.

    Tom | Jan 15, 2012 | New Comment
  78. it’s NIKE, isn’t it? not Nike? | Jan 15, 2012 | New Comment
  79. Trademark and corporate communications style conventions are meant to be mocked and defied.

    Paul Lundgren | Jan 15, 2012 | New Comment
  80. and defiled. | Jan 15, 2012 | New Comment
  81. Bentleyville Grammar

    (1) Hoody’s, tee’s, camera’s and souvenir’s all require apostrophes.

    (2) Hats, mittens, hand warmers, sweat shirts, batteries, travel mugs and coffee cups do not.

    Ramos | Nov 25, 2012 | New Comment
  82. People will often refer to “V.I.P. Pizza,” which is redundant because V.I.P. stands for Vintage Italian Pizza.

    Nonetheless, I’m going to declare this usage acceptable in conversation because simply inviting someone to meet you at “V.I.P.” is too vague.

    I am the person who gets to set these standards, right? Good. Then it’s settled.

    Paul Lundgren | Nov 30, 2012 | New Comment
  83. If you are the VIP, then you do get to make the grammatical standards!

    emmadogs | Nov 30, 2012 | New Comment
  84. Be sure to stop at the ATM machine and punch in your PIN number on your way to VIP Pizza.

    I learned something new today. This phenomenon has a name: RAS Syndrome, or Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome.

    bluenewt | Nov 30, 2012 | New Comment
  85. Paul Lundgren | May 30, 2013 | New Comment
  86. Let’s play a game of “Find the Grammatical Error in Paul’s Above Comment!”

    Tom | May 30, 2013 | New Comment
  87. I see there are single quotation marks inside the standard quotation marks around the word “emeritus” in the headline of the fourth link. That’s the way the author wrote it, but I didn’t notice the mistake until now.

    Paul Lundgren | May 30, 2013 | New Comment
  88. That one’s not actually a mistake. The author was advocating for the use of quotes on the word. (It’s hard to explain without just revisiting the entire post.)

    I was referring to the second link from the bottom.

    Tom | May 30, 2013 | New Comment
  89. Ah, I see it now. That’s a typo on my part.

    Paul Lundgren | May 31, 2013 | New Comment
  90. The recent closing of Beijing Restaurant brings up the question, why was the name on the sign “Bei Jing”? Since when is Beijing two words?

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 29, 2013 | New Comment
  91. Because one word wasn’t enough to convey the deliciousness.

    jessige | Jul 29, 2013 | New Comment
  92. It’s two words in Chinese. North and capitol.

    spy1 | Jul 29, 2013 | New Comment
  93. So it would seem the standard Americanization as one word is wrong, and it should be two. Yet the logo from the old Beijing website shows it as one word.

    The PDD Spelling, Punctuation and Proper Usage Police remain perplexed.

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 29, 2013 | New Comment
  94. I dunno.

    spy1 | Jul 30, 2013 | New Comment
  95. Dewayne (R.I.P.) and Al, we love you, but we think you mean “lending.”

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 3, 2013 | New Comment
  96. Sorry David Bolgrien, but you’ll have to move yourself forward first. That period belongs inside the quotation marks.

    (The more I get into the spirit of this post, the bigger jerk I become.)

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 22, 2013 | New Comment
  97. At last! Somebody who wants to “move forward”! I was getting tired of all those candidates promising to lurch us backward.

    Paul, anybody who puts out education-related material deserves an especially high level of punctuational scrutiny, and any mistakes deserve to be rudely pointed out.

    Ramos | Aug 22, 2013 | New Comment
  98. From the depths of the Sheraton. “Countinuous”

    K. Praslowicz | Aug 23, 2013 | New Comment
  99. Maybe the fire alarm whoops out “One! Two! Three! Four!” over and over again.

    Ramos | Aug 23, 2013 | New Comment
  100. Around 45 seconds into this video from WDIO-TV’s Eyewitness News, College of St. Scholastica sophomore softball player Rendi Johnson says her teammates “literally feed off each other.”


    Paul Lundgren | May 6, 2014 | New Comment

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