Yes, we are still accepting nominations. And yes, the atrocities you readers have recently submitted are as atrocious as ever.
Welcome, if this is your maiden visit, to The Bob Levey Hall of Grammatical Shame. Our purpose is to report egregious manglings of the English language -- usually in ads, but occasionally in prose whose creators ought to know better. Our hope is that publicity (and embarrassment) will lead to a more atrocity-free landscape.
A spelling error isn't a 100-watt atrocity by itself. But when it appears on thousands of coat hangers . . . .
Jay Holleran, of Mount Pleasant, sent along the hanger-wrapper that's being used by Bergmann's, the well-known Washington dry cleaner. "Become Quality Consious," a blurb reads.
Also brought before the dock on spelling charges is Hugo's, a restaurant in the Hyatt Arlington Hotel. A discount coupon that found its way into the hands of Sue Lazarov, of Reston, reads: FREE DESERT WITH ANY ENTREE.
Hyatt rang the gong again in a national magazine ad that appeared in December. The ad trumpets a new Hyatt service whereby a customer can check into his or her room by phone. One jealous Yuppie is pictured asking another about the service. "You're checking into your hotel over the phone? Who do you know?," she asks. Try knowing "whom" instead, my friend.
Two suburban newspapers are next. Julie A. Lockett, of Beltsville, is still chuckling over the Nov. 29-Dec. 6 edition of the Prince George's Sentinel. In it, there's a story about Catherine Cicoria, wife of County Council member Anthony Cicoria. Catherine Cicoria "has been on the lamb for nearly two months," the Sentinel tells us.
Meanwhile, across the Potomac, The Fairfax Jounral recently offered a road atlas of the area to new subscribers. "Here's two ways to learn more about your community," it bragged, ungrammatically.
This next one often causes fumbles. Happily, Donald P. McEwan, of Annandale, was there to pounce on the most recent loose ball.
In an ad that ran in the Post on Dec. 18, NCR took aim at A T & T employees. The issue was whether A T & T jobs would be safe if the giant communications company took over NCR. "We are loathe to participate in that kind of a process," the NCR ad wasn't loath to say.
I have a hunch this next horror may have been deliberate. But if it wasn't, Dora Ohemeng, of Takoma Park, has snagged a biggie.
Dora recently happened past a gas station on New Hampshire Avenue, near her home. A hand-scrawled sign in the window read:
SORRY WE'RE CLOTHED.
Let's take a brief side trip to the world of radio ads. Ruth W. Friedman, of Silver Spring, heard one near the end of 1990 that brought her to a boil.
Like many luxury car dealers, Euro Motorcars was urging prospective buyers to take the plunge before the end of the year, when the tax laws would change and expensive cars would be much less desirable. Said the Euro spot: "You never want to hurry, but sometimes you want to move quick."
And sometimes you want to explain to advertising copywriters what an adverb is.
Speaking of that much-mishandled part of speech, Laura L. Scudder, of Alexandria, a major in the Marine Corps, often walks past Brice's Barber Shop on Eighth Street SE. en route to the nearby Marine Barracks. Says a sign in Brice's window: "It pays to look well."
It pays even more to look good.
Less/Fewer Disease always claims a few victims. The latest is Arlington Hospital, whose recent ad in the Post was headed: "300,000 people in the Washington area want to lose weight. Less than 300 will learn how." (Thanks to Chlorinda Russo, of Northwest Washington).
Similarly, Like/As Disease is still an epidemic. Again in a Post ad, a clipping of which was sent in by Bernice Fallwell, of Charlottesville, The Black-Eyed Pea restaurant chain declared: "Nobody's home cookin' like we are." It should be "as we are," of course.
"Columbia Reader" found two horrors in her mailbox on the same day. The first: a flyer from Audubon Workshop, an Illinois mail-order company, that said: "We're You're Wild Bird Store!" The second: a flyer from Metzler's, a local greenhouse, that said: "Your Invited!"
Rae White, an English teacher at Ridgeview Intermediate School in Gaithersburg, attended a hearing last year before the Montgomery County Council. During a break, she got a bite to eat in the cafeteria. An advertising "tent" had been placed on each table. Its title: "THE AFFECTS OF ALCOHOL."
Of course, Rae went from table to table, circling the error in red pen and writing beside it: "A teacher's work is never done."
Neither is a columnist's. Have a nomination for the Bob Levey Hall of Grammatical Shame? Please mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 20071.