My Other Blog

What's a Wreck?

A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate - you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it's simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons. Anyone who has ever smeared frosting on a baked good has made a Wreck at one time or another, so I'm not here to vilify decorators: Cake Wrecks is just about finding the funny in unexpected, sugar-filled places.

Now, don't you have a photo you want to send me? ;)

- Jen

Grammar Geeks, UNITE!

K, people, confession time:

Do unnecessary quotation marks make your eye twitch? 


Have you ever left a comment on a friend's Facebook status explaining why it's "couldn't care less," not "could care less?" 

Do you fix the spelling mistakes in other people's tweets before retweeting them?

Are you required by forces beyond your control to whip out a pen and correct misspelled store signage?


Must...cross out...apostrophe...

 (And then...fix...capitals...)

(And then...add...exclamation marks...) 

And finally, do you not only know what the Oxford comma is, but have a passionate stance on its usage? 

If the answer to any of those is yes then you, my friend, are a fellow grammar geek. And today is our day. That's right; it's National Grammar Day! WAHOO!

Finally - FINALLY - we can pick apart spelling and grammar errors without fear of judgment from the text-speak-writing language butchers who keep "loosing" their minds! Today we are NOT the nit-picking jerks of the comment section; today we are HEROES. HEROES, I SAY!! 


So let's get right to it:

Ah, yes. [pushing up glasses] You see, "whose" is an interrogative possessive pronoun, while "who's" is the contraction for "who is." In this context, someone is apparently asking for the identity of the owner of something euphemistically known as "40."

Haha! Isn't that a SCREAM?!

I honestly don't know why I'm not invited to more parties, you guys.


Maybe I should have started with something a little more common, though:

Now, see, there's an easy way to avoid this situation in the future: 



And remember, it's "I before E except after C and when you're trying to write the word 'having.'"

Also those little dots are called an ellipsis, and there should only be three of them.


Not to mention the way that's written makes it look like someone is "haveing" a weird scrolly symbol. (Maybe the artist formerly known as Prince invented a new species?)


Hey, do you guys watch Sherlock

What am I saying? You read this blog and therefore have EXCELLENT taste in entertainment, so of course you watch Sherlock.

Anyway, remember the beginning of that episode where Holmes is interviewing a murderer, and he keeps correcting the thug's grammar?

That was awesome.


Now where was I?

Ah yes, the importance of punctuation and discerning between "will" and "we'll."

It also appears this person isn't entirely certain that Dee Dee will miss me, which is hard to believe. I mean, in case you haven't noticed, I AM DELIGHTFUL.

And finally, allow me to share a quick word on foreign punctuation marks:



Thanks to Mary F., Mab R., Catherine B., David S., Bella P., Todd, and Zoë P., who have always known I'm a pro-Oxford-comma kinda gal.

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Reader Comments (170)

Of course, we grammar nazis could tell that Jen is pro-Oxford-comma simply by observing her lists thanking her contributors.

I was also worried about making a grammar gaffe in my comment. Your not alone. (eep)

Thanks for adding the Castle reference! That was one of my favorite moments in the show (second only to the steampunk episode).

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOne of the Sarahs

I have always been a Grammar Geek and never knew it until today! Thank you!!! Love it.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJan in AZ

Sabs, I've got one for you:

Grammar: the difference between feeling you're nuts, and feeling your nuts. (JFK and Stalin can do both if they so desire.)

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarin

This is my favorite in every way!!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlissa

Oh my gosh, thank you SO MUCH for referencing Sherlock. I just discovered it recently and fell totally in love with it! Yes, that was a fantastic scene. And I can never use a self-checkout again without laughing hysterically to myself. :D I am also a grammar geek, so this post is awesome.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura P.

How to make the best post ever?

Combine Jen, Sharyn, SuBee, Haiku Joy, and the Oxford comma.

They rule.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlisadh

*Climbs onto soapbox*

Commas should be used when, and only when, they clarify the sentence in which they are found or where there would naturally be a brief pause. That's why I object to the tyranny of the Oxford comma. If it helps clarify the list (as in the example from above: "The Oxford comma: The difference between inviting the strippers, JFK, and Stalin, and inviting the strippers, JFK and Stalin.") But see also: "This post makes me feel so happy, elated[,] and joyful!" It adds nothing to the sense of the sentence and therefore should be left out.

*Climbs down*

That said, I laughed out loud at this post, which was the first time in a long time. So thanks!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteressjaytee

One of my pet peeves for the spoken word is the replacement of the letter 'O' with the letter 'A'. Example: Instead of O-regon, they say A-regon; or A-range, instead of O-range.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkobayashimaru

Is it wrong that the first thing I noticed wrong with the sign was the "Too"? It should be "to". ...My red pen was only slowed by the fact I cannot use the pen on the computer screen. That would be wrong.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIsabella

I'm that person, too! It's really hard.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwordphreak

Here in Berkeley, home of the University of California, a lone crusader persuaded a local supermarket to change its signs for quick check-out lines from "10 items or less" to "10 items or fewer" in all its branches. Happy Grammar Day!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKay

As a mom of a Zoë, I'm so glad to see that there are at least a couple of other people in the world who know the difference between a dieresis and an umlaut. The dots in Zoë are a dieresis. Try telling that to a baker!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Can someone please explain to Langela the difference between Sherlock and Elementary?

And while I'm at it, does anyone else get the urge to whack whoever wrote the song "Hungry Eyes" for that grammar error in it? Some people have no grasp of the accusative.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbob

@Langela - sorry, it IS Sherlock, the awesome British show starring Benedict Cumberbatch, not the copycat American show called Elementary:

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

I too am pleased to see all of my pet peeves about spelling and grammar laid out here. I must constantly remind myself to simply ignore the errors in other posts. Perhaps I'm too harsh, but if I were an employer and these errors showed up on resumes, I would automatically disqualify the applicant. One of the worst offenders, IMHO, and which hasn't popped up here so far is the rampant use of 'the exact same'. The phrase is 'exactly the same' and every time it gets mangled, I want to scream! Okay, rant over for now.
Kudos to everyone above!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPamela V.

I am one of you, but I don't correct people; I just think less of them.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P

I LOVE this post! And I will forever be pro-Oxford comma.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Today's post is great. However, it's the comments that are making me happy. Thank you, everyone.

Since we're all sharing grammar pet peeves, I'll add one more. I work with a whole team of people who have no idea how to use the word "myself". They just throw it in a sentence any time they don't know if they should say "I" or "me" (which, it turns out, is pretty frequently). I have almost bit through my tongue when my boss asks, "Can you RSVP to this event for Tom and myself?" (No, I can't do that.)

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterM. Dale

I'm delighted to know about National Grammar Day! Pet peeves include misuse of: your & you're + there, their, & they're. However, as a spelling champion, for me the constant grating on "da nerbs" is a toss-up between grammar and spelling (as one leads naturally into the other, either way you look at it).

Along similar lines -- when my son was taking extracurricular Spanish lessons, the teacher sent home a syllabus stating what the children would be taught: colors, numbers, and of coarse greetings. (I always wondered why 6-7 yr. olds needed any help with "coarse" greetings!) The teacher had a B.A. in Spanish granted by an American state university, yet didn't really speak English.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterskitmom

I am not a fan of the Oxford comma, but I am a HUGE fan of yours, Jen! Certain mistakes make me cringe, but as a teacher of English to international students, I must admit that English rules are insane. Which may explain why grammar geeks are delightfully insane.

That being said, I found this blog years ago on an ESL website, and have been hooked ever since.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

I had to look up Oxford comma. I have always used it, and never thought there was any other way to make a list. I am a grammar geek, but I am OK with the occasional use of incorrect grammar for effect (not affect!), in an informal setting. It's usually obvious by the surrounding writing that the person is not stupid, but creatively getting a point across. I sometimes post a half-sentence or uncapitalized one-word statement on a message board. But everyone understands why. It's for emphasis.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdoodlebug

How do you pronounce "Zoe with two dots over the E"? Zoey to rhyme with ``Joey``?

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAisha

My biggest pet peeve,and I am seeing it more often, is using payed for paid. Do these people not ever remember seeing, "Paid in Full" on a bill?

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterctmichelle

My trick for the loose vs lose dilemma is to remember that old show Win Lose or Draw.

As for the rest, I can usually hold my own and keep my mouth shut when I recognize other people's errors. The thing that kills me tho is the fact that not one but both of my children pronounce draw as "drawl"!!! I always interupt them and say "There's no 'L' in draw" but now they just ignore me. :-(

Be careful with your umlauts when you sneeze. <~~~ I think that's one of my favorite lines ever!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJodee in WA

My mom was known as the Phantom English Major around Yale. She corrected grammer and spelling everywhere! My sisters and I learned not to leave term papers out where she could see them. The red pen would come out, snarky phrases were crossed off and notes were left for where one could find more research on the topic...And my nickmane came from a typo in a school concert. My mother was heard saying to the typist "Have you no pride in your work?" So, hurray for Grammer!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSam

I love this post! Grammar has been a passion of mine for many years. I believe the semicolon deserves a comeback. Who's with me?! I also wish the interrobang still existed.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlessandra Martellacci

Yes. Yes I am. They call me the Grammar Nazi. :)

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelaine

Happy Grammar Day!

I'm sure you'll enjoy my Facebook page, Lady Grey's Compleat Annotated Memes, wherein I endeavor to correct the Internet, one meme at a time.

I just gave this post a plug, so if you see an uptick in traffic, you'll know why.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary Elizabeth Grey

Two things popped out at me. First, "baby daddy" should be two words and not one. And two, when did it become socially accepted that "baby daddy" is a term at all?

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Happy Grammar Day to everyone who cares about the correct usage of language. Every time I look at (illuminated and flashing) sign of the take-away near where I work which offers "Pizza's", I want to fix it but I fear that a marker pen is not sufficient for this instance! Also when a secretary (yes, a secretary who is supposed to know better) insists on referring to the "team" meeting (yes, with what I can only assume are sarcastic quote marks), I want to punch her in the face (but have so far restrained myself).

I love a good grammar wreck but these are among some of my favourites, though unlike many of your other readers, I am very much against the Oxford comma and feel it should only be used as an absolute last resort! I understand I may be in the minority but I am firm in my stand-point!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCoz

I am SO that person! It grates on my nerves when I see grammar errors. It is very difficult for me to keep from correcting people. And to prove my point...
@ Isabella, I have to tell you that the word too on the bakery sign is in fact correct. (sorry)
To is a preposition. A few of its many definitions are (1) toward, (2) reaching as far as, and (3) until.
Too is an adverb meaning (1) additionally, (2) excessively, (3) very, or (4) extremely.
We baked too much. = We baked more than our quota. Had they used the word to, it would have implied that they were baking in the direction of a place called much.
Hangs head in shame...
Oh gosh, I am such a grammar geek!
Long live the Oxford comma!
P.S. And now I'm sure there is a grammar mistake somewhere in this post. When you correct someone else...
P.P.S. You are all welcome to correct me if there is. ;)

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

Bad grammar makes me feel like I am loosing my mind. Heck, I could just lay down and croak but then I would have to worry about whose minding the kid's. ;-P

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMajksmom

Yes, you've got me pegged. Since I have an apostrophe in my last name, I am inordinately sensitive to the correct use of that dear little black smudge in the air.
@ Sharyn, I didn't think it was possible for me to love that song, but your parody was inspired. Thank you.
And SuBee, I thought I was reading one of my students' papers there for a minute. Some of them ascribe to the "cram as many words as you can before the period" method of writing, too.
I love youse guys.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFM

Form one grammar nut to another, I thought I'd advise you on foreign "punctuation": I'm not sure what they're called in English, but in German, the two little dots over a vowel are called an "umlaut," and it's a form of accent, not punctuation, as it changes the pronunciation of the word. Bitte sehr ;) (although, concerning the name Zoë, I'm pretty sure that spelling is French, as the accent wouldn't affect the pronunciation in German... yes, that's how much of a grammar-holic I am...)

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecky-chan

And, of course, I meant "from", not "form". Just in case anyone felt the need to correct me. I saw it right as I hit post ;)

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecky-chan

I love today's post! My current pet peeve is seeing "invite" used as a noun instead of a verb. Example: "I received my invite in the mail today." Grrrrrrr!!!!!!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

I am shocked that the decorator didn't insert an apostrophe into "Congrats."

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNYCGirl

I thought I was alone in the world with my black marker pen. Long live grammar.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

I love my red pen. Happy Grammar Day!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan B

Yay for Grammar Day!!! Now, when do we get to talk about people who say "mischevious"?

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaxmom

I bought the newest edition of Chicago Manual of Style a few months ago. The cashier who helped me asked if the book was about fashion. I was a tad shocked that there was someone in the world who didn't know about CMS. It's the Bible of grammar!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMerrie

Loved todayes' blog and commits! I have for words; Bene Dict Cumber Batch Yum!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

To those of you who run around, Sharpie in hand, correcting errors on signs: You might enjoy reading <u>The Great Typo Hunt </u>by Jeff Deck.
Also, there ought to be an award given out on National Grammar Day to give to people who have earned frequent flyer miles (oops, smudged finger marks) from making said corrections.
Today's post and comments have been a delight. (And, yes, I have always used an over-abundance of commas, dashes, and parenthesis.)

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdrgns4vr

@Langela. The show is most certainly called "Sherlock." You refer to a completely different program.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLesly

Love the post today. I added the apostrophe sign to my fb page dedicated to just such a "crime." Would have laughed out loud but I'm at work. Thanks as usual for you great post even though it was almost physically painful to read at times!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandy F.

The cakes were hilarious. The comments were even funnier! I'm still laughing. Thanks everyone. XD

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

I think the third one is actually asking the question "Whose 40 Cats? A simple forgotten s makes all the difference. Of course, in that case, cats wouldn't be capitalized. What better way to get on the good side of a hoarder than with cake?

It's those youngins that won't use the Oxford comma. I used to fight with my daughter all the time while proofreading her papers.

No love for loose and lose? I see those two used interchangeably all the time.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCorgiLvr

This is not really a grammar issue, but it also drives me crazy when people use the phrase "begging the question" wrong, which is pretty much always. (should there be a comma in there somewhere?)

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

OK. As a grammar snob, how could you not know an diaeresis, or trema, is English? It's not foreign at all, it's actually the correct English spelling of Zoë. I'm probably missing something, I'm sure you do know, or you do by now.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMo

Sorry, Langela, but the scene in question was in fact from an episode of Sherlock (starring Benedict Cumberbatch), which is a British program aired on PBS, and not Elementary (starring Johnny Lee Miller), which is a CBS program. One thing more frustrating than being corrected is being corrected erroneously.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermugschatz

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