It’s too easy to screw up contemporary English, so now you’re butchering Shakespearean English, too?

Sign painted on outdoor shopping mall of upscale shops: Feel not shame for thou (sic) love of shoes.

Thou love? No, you dunderheaded idiots. (I know, I know. I taught critical thinking. If you insult the party to whom you’re talking, you generally have no point. But this is a collection of stores who would sell me (if I had that kind of money or cared what I looked like) a $150 sweater and $200 pair of shoes while befouling my sensibilities and dainty editor’s eyes. Shit like that makes our retinas BLEED, y’all.)

Who is hiring these writers, and who is hiring these advertisers?

Thou is a pronoun. It’s Elizabethan “you.”  Thy is a possessive pronoun. Sixteenth century “your.”

So your big marketing push this holiday season reads: “Do not be ashamed of you (sic)  love of shoes.” Take it from me: you meant “thy” love of shoes.

And you painted it on the wall. Like your nudge-nudge-wink-wink lame attempt at a joke is supposed to get me to swerve off the road and into your dank, dimly lit parking garage in the unholiest of all consumerist greed-fests: December. You think classing up being elbow-deep in polyester and perfume-reeking humanity makes shopping somehow more appealing? Well, you’re entitled to your opinion. But you’re not entitled to your own version of Elizabethan English. Use a dictionary when you’re writing. Or an editor. Or stop letting the boneheads in the strategy department write your advertising.


On an upbeat note, I’m pleased as always to congratulate Trader Joe’s for being one of the few stores in the nation to have a sign reading, “12 items or fewer.” Kudos. Your “unique grocery store” image remains credible to the educated but underpaid masses who traipse into your store for an affordable selection of organic, sugary, and obscure. Thank you for having hatch green chili bread, organic egg nog, and Jack Daniel’s all ready for me, btw, so that my trip down the twelve-or-fewer aisle is particularly sparkly this holiday season.

3 thoughts on “It’s too easy to screw up contemporary English, so now you’re butchering Shakespearean English, too?

  1. Did *no one* in that store’s marketing branch think hey, that sounds weird? How is that possible?

    I’m still mad about people using BOGO to mean “buy one, get one half off.” Um…no. They should be using BOGOHO. (BOGO has always meant “buy one, get one free.”)

    And thus ends my morning rant. Thank you for hosting it here. :)

    • Oh, I agree, I agree. What about “save 50% off”? No. You “take 50% off” or “save 50%”. There is no such thing as save 50% off.

      And really, the 24/7/365 thing bugs me, too. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Please. 24/7/52 is at least parallel, if not just as lame.

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