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.

« Faulty Towers | Main | Sunday Sweets: A Dr. Seuss Celebration! »

Reader Comments (170)

I come from a grammer loving family. My mom got a whiney note from my brother at the table "Robin hit me!". She looked at it, added a comma so it said, "Robin, hit me!" and said, "Behold the power of the comma!" And, of course, I hit him.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpagopago


March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

With in-store errors I usually ask for a discount, but they always think I'm joking!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStan

I'm frequently appalled at the low standard of spelling and grammar from job applicants. I actually introduced a multiple choice test for the shortlisted candidates. It was horrifying how many of them didn't know the difference between there/their/they're or your/you're. Or how to use an apostrophe.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLorri

Never haven a fan of the Oxford comma. I've always thought that lists look cleaner without it. However, the epidemic of lost -ly's in adverbs is appalling.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

See, and I'd never heard of the Oxford comma before today, but have been bugged enough by seeing lists done both ways recently that I was going to look it up, when I next remembered it!

And I seriously cringe when people type Opps! Makes me want to slap them silly. The other day I stopped at a local restaurant that was selling "tamales". What? Were they to be eaten in the dinning room? Yeah, dinning is another pet peeve.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertracylee

I always love the posts here because it's true, everything is funnier in frosting.

But this particular post makes me feel like I've been welcomed home.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

@Langela - Jen is indeed referencing Sherlock. Sherlock is a BBC production with 2 series, each with three 90 minute episodes/films. (The third series is set to start filming soon. I can't wait!) Elementary is a police procedural on CBS also based on Sherlock Holmes. That show may reference grammar, but Jen is specifically referencing the Sherlock episode, The Great Game.

<end rant> :)

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterScaperMama

I am the grammar police! I corrected a bad sign at work once... the next day a new sign appeared to the left saying " do not write on sign' s posted by management" and some kind of threat of punishment. Needless to say, i corrected that one too.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteralisomniac

Sharyn, you are amazing.
It's terrible. I'm in MIDDLE SCHOOL and twitch when I come across a friend's spelling errors. I guess it's in my blood...
Long live the Oxford comma!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJo

Hooray for grammar, and LONG LIVE THE OXFORD COMMA!

@Heather: YES. I go crazy when people use "begging the question" when they should be saying, "raising the question!" When I have the chance, I always correct the usage.

Previous commenters have covered most of my other pet peeves, but allow me to add some to the list that have been bugging me recently. I've seen people, mostly on Facebook, saying "That awkward moment when [fill in the blank]." While I know it's a meme, the lack of a complete sentence really annoys me.

Another one is the incorrect use of "literally." (Yes, I'm going to go there.) I always correct someone when I hear them use "literally" incorrectly. Besides the intrinsic error, what makes this particular foible even worse for me is that it's EVERYWHERE, to the point of oversaturation. I just cannot get away from it. It drives me mad, I tell you, MAD!

What really burns me up, though, are the people who lash out when they're corrected. Now, I do agree that there is indeed a threshold past which the correction of grammar becomes pretentious. And yes, language constantly evolves. What I'm talking about is a person who is clearly being lazy with their use of language, and then gets angry at the people correcting them, sometimes even cursing at them or deriding their intelligence. Such people act as though we grammarians should feel badly about our desire to see the world sound and read more intelligently and well-spoken!

Whoa, hey, how'd that soapbox get there? I...uh...I'll just get down now. *gets off soapbox*

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCelidah

To reiterate what Ginny said, a "40" is a forty-ounce can of malt liquor, drunk by gang members and people who want to imitate "Thug Life". Therefore, yes, I think they are asking whose can of malt liquor that is. I'm not sure what the "Cat" refers to. If it said "Cat's", then we'd know that it was answering the question -- it's Cat's can of malt liquor. If it said "Cat?" then it would mean that the cake was calling out to Cat to see if he or she knew whose 40 it was. If it said "- Cat" then it would be an attribution -- that that was a quote from Cat.

To Langella: I was assuming that the reference was to the BBC show SHERLOCK, which has an episode that starts as described. I've not seen the American show ELEMENTARY yet, but you're saying that it, too has such an opening?

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIan Osmond

Thank you for the eye twitch that I can't seem to stop...

There are two that really get me. One: I live in the South, and it seems to be an affliction here to use "it's" instead of "its". As in, "the car needs it's tires inflated", or "the computer has a mind of it's own". *twitch* I should really carry white-out and a Sharpie with me.

Two: My husband's grandmother loves to send us cards for EVERY holiday. (A couple of years ago, she sent him a birthday card, meant for a 5 year old, that had a bunny playing with a soccer ball on the front. The inside read "Dear Grandson, on your birthday, it's okay to play with your balls!" I kid you not. Best card ever.) Anyway, she, without fail, will write - Dear {husband}, "Congratulations" on graduation! - or Dear {husband}, "Happy" "Valentine's" "Day"!. I wish someone would explain to her that quotation marks are "not" "used" for "emphasis"...

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkathleen

By the way: Oregon is NOT pronounced "O-regon. Oregon is prenounced "Orygun."

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNanalettie

Another grammar geek here, but what really made me laugh in the post? Condoms!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

At my work, we use a whole slew of TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). Unfortunately, virtually every one else insists on adding an apostrophe before the s (TLA's). It drives me crazy!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLT

Yes, there is a show on CBS called "Elementary" set in NY City, featuring Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) & Joan Watson (Lucy Liu). I love this show!!
I can't find the name of the person who posted the comment about Sherlock correcting the inmate's grammar. This scene is from the BBC One Television production simply titled "Sherlock", starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Watson. Wonderful show!! 2 seasons available on DVD, with 3 episodes per season. I can't wait for the third season to come out!
And, with samldanach, I also love Castle!!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly

I used to have a student worker (college student) who consistently used "all" in place of "I'll". Like, "All bring it tomorrow" or "All look for it in a little while." I'm reminded of this by "Will miss you," which at least could -- <I>could --be just dropping the subject (not like that) rather than actually thinking will and we'll are the same.

I did eventually have to fire the student worker for an unrelated issue. ...and then I sighed with relief.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFlora

If there is a flood of comments referencing another comment, is it an Epcot or an Elementary.

#1 It is rather a toss-up whether my eyebrows twitch more at extraneous quotation marks or at brown roses.

Photo #2 Perhaps fatigue from overwork explains this sign. Among 25 acronym definitions I found for OOP is the heavily ironic, "out of production". However, I found none that justifies a possessive apostrophe.

#4 My, Kevin is certainly precocious, but he'll have to step up and accept responsibility. It won't be easy; unemployment in the "under two" community remains stubbornly above 98%. Perhaps he can replace the wreckorator.

#5 It seems the wreckorators are "haveing" a collective mental shutdown. *No, that is redundant.

*Note use of a comma after a beginning interjection. That appears to be optional, since my grammar checker did not flag my test omission. However, several websites I checked said it should be used, which comports with my longstanding practice. [Preemptive ear scratch]

#6 The cake seems to be composed of two different flavors, which adds to the overall ambiguity.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Technically, the cake for DeeDee could just have an elliptical subject (we), in which case it isn't really wrong. Elliptical phrases are commonly used on cakes. Instead of "We will miss you," they simply wrote "Will Miss You."

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Am I not the only one who goes to almost daily? And it is not just the poorly written material that drives me nuts; the poorly spoken material from so-called professionals (news journalists I be lookin' at you!) who supposedly have more education than many of our talented wreckers. Now, which episode of Sherlock was that?

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMs anthrope

As someone of French-Canadian descent, the two dots over certain vowels is called a trema, nicht ein umlaut. Das ist verboten! Gut/tout est bien?

For those fighting for the Oxford comma, I'm sorry, but there are valid other usages of commas. That being said, I'm in agreement about all the other criticisms of punctuation sins highlighted here. For those who have no clue as to what's being discussed, I recommend you read "Eats shoots and leaves" by Lynn Truss (yes, I know titles should be italizaced or underlined, but I can't do it with my smartphone, mea maxima culpa)

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Meg, your grammar nerd boyfriend is obviously not familiar with the metal umlaut. "It's like a pair of eyes. You're looking at the umlaut, and it's looking at you."

Also, rules for umlauts vary by language. My husband is Afrikaner; in some variants of his surname, there is an umlaut over the letter y. It's linguistically equivalent to the Dutch "ij."

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpikkewyntjie

My first office job was nearly 20 years ago. Early on, I typed some notes for my boss to use at a meeting with our biggest client. Two people at the meeting saw the notes and told her I should go back to school. My sin was using the Oxford comma. I was told to stop using it just so my boss didn't have to deal with another 5 minute conversation on the subject. Yeah.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Anne

I hate it when people put more than three periods when they trail off (I apologize for not calling them the correct name)! It bugs the crap out of me!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline

I ADORE that Sherlock scene! Rewound and rewatched it umpteen-bazillion times!

Thanks for the heads-up on National Grammar Day. I wish I had realized it sooner. I'd have baked a cake of my own and forced the rest of the office to celebrate with me!

All hail the Oxford Comma!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMooMom

Oxford comma users unite! I'm so happy to have support here for my beloved comma use. As an Applied Linguist, I also adore the proper use of semi-colons, square brackets, and parentheses.

On another note, I strongly ascribe to Winston Churchill's stance when he wrote:“Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.” :P

Happy National Grammar Day everyone!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrammar Girl

I DO. know what the Oxford comma is, and I DO have a passionate stance on its usage. Having been a reported and editor for newrly 30 years and a slave to the Associated Press Style Guide, I do NOT use the Oxford comma. But Jen, I love you anyway!

One of my biggest peeves that I haven't seen voiced here is people who don't put a period at the end of each item in a bulleted list. I went 10 rounds on this with a co-worker and fortunately proved my point before we had to fill the mud pit to settle it.

My son's friends can't believe the punctuation I used in texts and emails. But since my son is now editor of the school paper, he understands.

Your/you're, its/it's, apostrophes for plurals, unnecessary quotes. . . they all make my hackles rise!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

I love Sherlock, Oxford commas, and grammar!

Pet peeves:
(1) People who misspell the word grammar.
(2) People who use "flush it out" rather than "flesh it out" for writing from an outline. (Yes, you can "flush out" problems that are hiding, but if all you have is an outline, you are adding details and elements to it, putting flesh on it.)
(3) The weirdest one I've heard was by an old colleague. Worst part is, she worked as an EDITOR! She would write "Let's except this story for publication." "Accept" apparently sounds like "except" to her. For months, I thought she was saying "excerpt" and wanted to publish just a part of the work. I'd ask what part she wanted to use, or worse, go the trouble of finding a reasonable excerpt, and she'd respond "Oh, no, we should publish the whole thing and just except it." Took me the longest time to figure out what she meant to say. Sigh.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatie #38

Wow. Well, that little exercise in reading the comments certainly leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Talk about pedantic & officious. I'm as educated as need be (I know what an Oxford comma is, know how & when to use it's/its & the like). I notice misspellings & poorly written/wrong stuff as much as the next. But I much prefer the attitude of this woman over the gleeful gloating grammar bullies in this thread.


March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMSP

Lol well I love these wrecks. Now I can happily try and not let my brain explode while figuring out what the heck they are trying to say to me.. hehe. Wreckerators always make my brain hurt as it is lol.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

@Langela, um, it IS Sherlock. It was on the BBC. It pre-dated Elementary by about two years.

(I'm a teacher, so I always have a red pen in my bag. Have Old Red, will travel!)

Sherlock + Grammar + Oxford Comma = my new favourite cake wrecks post.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCdnGinger

One thing I've always noticed and appreciated about your two blogs is that they are pretty much impeccably edited. I know some people get annoyed with me for being obsessed with grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc., but it's important, dammit!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRibbit

Great blog! I often laugh aloud at both the misspelled cakes and your witty comments. Also, I hope you get the Bloggie for Best Food Blog! ;D

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Are there other old people reading this? I was taught not to use the end serial comma unless it was joining compound terms which were joined by the conjunction and. For example, red, white, green and yellow would be correct to specify four colours. This was at US Army schools and Catholic schools in the 1950's.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVon

While we are on the subject of incorrect usage, when did "bring" and "take" become interchangeable? Why won't this site allow me to write that the way it should be written?

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVon

I love this post! I don't have the best grammar, although I hate spelling errors and simple grammar errors. We learn in first grade how to use contractions, and I believe the majority of people go through first grade. My 8 year old has better spelling and grammar than some of these wanna-be cake decorators.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebekah

As someone who has a daughter who tells people her name is spelled "T - E - A, accent over the 'E'," I fear she is doomed to a life much like ZOE with two dots over the "E."

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina

Grammar rules! As for the Artist Formerly Known As Prince, now that he is calling himself Prince again he can also be called The Artist Formerly Known As A Really Stupid Squiggle.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMorag

I love to bake but how to make flowers on cakes

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjihn

Ahh the comma. It makes "Let's go eat Grandma" into "Let's go eat, Grandma". So it's really important (especially to Grandma).

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHutch

@Von: I was also taught that you didn't use the Oxford comma, AND you put two spaces after a period when typing. I'm being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the "new" ways, mostly because my son is being taught them, and if I edit his work "my" way, it's wrong. It was relatively simple to make the switch, although every time I use the Oxford comma the little imaginary grammar nun inside my head starts brandishing a ruler.

@mel: I thought I was the only person who used "gerund" these days.

My biggest grammar peeve right now is the demise of "to be". Everyone around here says, "The car needs washed." Then my head explodes all over it, and the car "needs washed" again. It's "needs to be washed", people! Unless "to be" is not to be. THAT is the question.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

Here I go aging myself; but when I went to school we were taught how to sound out words, what a noun, pronoun, adjective etc was. We practiced for (what seemed to me) many hours on punctuation. I have been told that now, the kids are to be able to know what the word is by sight. No wonder that they can not read or spell properly, never mind use punctuation properly.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEla

Oh what fun, even a day later! My favorite cringe is confusion over "fewer" and "less". Less rainfall may cause fewer crops to grow. Unfortunately, fewer has gone the way of the dodo and so less rain results in less crops - and me muttering corrections to the tv. Also, though no fan of capital punishment, I prefer to know someone was <hanged> by the neck rather than <hung> like a painting. Although the deceased may have been well endowed. . .
Thanks for this delightful romp. It's really calmed my nerbs.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

This is my new favorite post. Happy Grammar Day!
Last night I removed an apostrophe from something written on a dry erase board in the ER of the hospital where I work. My co-worker looked at me like I was crazy!!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

The band Vampire Weekend has a song called Oxford Comma.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Oh dear! I am sorry, Jen, for thinking you were talking about a different program (Sherlock vs. Elementary). And the response to my unintentional mistake is why I don't verbally correct others on their grammar. I may think it and laugh at it in private while looking through Craigslist ads, but not to a person's face. I would never want someone to feel stupid. I only correct on blogs/ websites if there is comment moderation so the writer can correct (or not, in the case that I am wrong) and then delete the comment so there is not any public humiliation for them. So, thank you to those few who kindly corrected me.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLangela

Lovely! The only time I've ever written on a bathroom wall was to pull out my red pen and correct someone's grammar. :)

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdialectkate

Another "to be" user here. [Hi Sharyn!] Is it a regional thing? My in-laws are from America's Heartland, where the phrase "to be" is rare and elusive and must be preserved from use (or should I say, "needs saved?"). It drives me nuts. Please tell me this is not a growing trend.

I suspect you still do double-spacing after a period when using a typewriter, because of the fixed-width font. It is no longer used in the digital world - I think it's a kerning thing. It took me a while to adjust and I'm still trying to help my coworkers adjust.

I'm afraid we part ways on the Oxford comma, though. I suspect there are a fixed number of punctuation marks that can be created at a given time, so all of those unnecessary apostrophes are misplaced, misaligned oxford commas. Therefore I hate them even more.

I'm off to join y'all in the bunker. Looks like we're watching "Sherlock"!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterajay

D. we will really miss you

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjarca

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>