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"I see that you have made three spelling mistakes."
Marquis de Favras (commenting on his own death warrant)

A gag where a character corrects another's spelling or grammar in a context where you wouldn't usually expect it. A common setup is when a note (either of love or insult) is sent to someone, only to have it come back with all the spelling mistakes highlighted, or for extra hubris, notes like "See me" as if from a teacher, as this is the inevitable result whenever a student attempts to write a love note to their teacher.

This is also a common tactic used by butlers and upscale servicefolk to distract a hysterical guest.

On the flipside of showing intelligence, this trope can also be used to show that someone is Comically Missing the Point. Also, fairly often, the "grammatical error" will be more of a point of style that's not actually considered incorrect grammar by anyone but pedants (Bad to end sentences with, prepositions are.[2]) -- writers who really want to Show Their Work may have the corrected party reply to that effect. Less often, the "error" might actually be technically correct, but this will only be known to really hardcore grammarians.[3]

Do this on a forum and the comeback is likely to be "Grammar Nazi". Or "grammer nazee", as the case may be. Responding that you were correcting their spelling and not their grammar is just asking for it.

The trope name is a pun; the word "sic"[4] is used in quotation and transcription to indicate that a (supposed) spelling or grammatical mistake was made by the original writer/speaker, not the person quoting/transcribing them.

Compare You Keep Using That Word, when the nitpicking is over word choice instead of grammar/spelling. Related to Do Wrong Right.

Examples of You Make Me Sic include:


Advertising

  • A Swedish PSA featured a man correcting a bathroom graffiti, reading "Robert är kuk" [Robert is cock] to "Robert är en kuk" [Robert is a dick], while awkwardly leaning over a guy standing next to him at a urinal.
  • An American PSA had a guy who changes who to whom on some spray-painted wall graffiti.
  • A Snickers ("not going anywhere for a while?") commercial features a groundskeeper spending several hours carefully laying out and painting the design in the end zone of an American football field. Just as he finishes, one of the players (who had been practicing in the background) comes up and says "Great job! But, who are the 'Chefs'?"


Anime & Manga

  • In the third volume of Drama Con, Christy is writing on her blog, and months after seeing Matt (who she has feelings for, and vice versa) at the Yatta! Con, his only reply is that she spelled a word wrong.
  • Is a Running Gag throughout Rurouni Kenshin, with Kenshin writing down important notes to his comrades during important battle intermissions, but his friends always comment on his poor handwriting first.


Comic Books

  • Played seriously in the Spider-Man arc "The Other", where Peter interrupts Ezekiel's speech about his role in the grand scheme of things to correct a grammatical error, simply to show that he doesn't care.
    • Said error was a reference to the voice-over intro to the first X-Men 1 film.
  • Inverted in X-Men when Cyclops asks Sinister why he talks about Scott's brotherS. Sinister claimed it was a grammatical error.
  • In issue #5 of The Pink Panther (Gold Key, March 1972), the adaptation of the Inspector cartoon "Le Quiet Squad" has this exchange (the story had the Inspector charged with keeping the Commissioner from being disturbed from noise):

 Sgt. Deux Deux: ('slamming a door open) Inspector! I've seen something you may be interested!

Inspector: Sergeant! How many times must I tell you...(he and Deux Deux run upstairs) never end a sentence with a preposition! You should have said "in which you may be interested"!

Deux Deux: (resignedly) Si.


Comic Strips

  • The Far Side: "Ha! The idiots spelled 'surrender' with only one 'r'!" To clarify, this error is found on a note, tied to an arrow, which was in his friend's spine at the time.
  • The Lockhorns: "I didn't save Leroy's old love letters... I returned them with the spelling corrected."
  • Beetle Bailey: Sarge and Beetle stop at a "DOUGNUT" shop, and point out the missing H. As they leave with a bag of donuts, the seller muses that he's got more business since removing the H.
  • In FoxTrot, Andy Fox is prone to this. In one strip, she even explains to her son Peter that she does it because, as an English major and professional writer, she values proper use of the language. He replies, "You're coming through real clear."
  • A series of Zits strips had Connie trying to work on her novel, but Jeremy kept interrupting her. Finally, she put a notice on her door stating that she was not to be disturbed except in certain conditions, such as an injury resulting in copius loss of blood. Jeremy looks at the note, then knocks on the door to tell her that she mis-spelled "copious."


Films -- Animation

 Randall: Where is it, you little one-eyed cretin?

Mike: Okay, first of all, it's "creetin". If you're going to threaten me, do it properly.


Films -- Live-Action

 "Domus?? Nominative???"

  • In Canadian Bacon, the protagonists are pulled over by an OPP officer after they'd sprayed "Canada sucks!" (and various other anti-Canadian insults) on the side of their truck... and forces them to spray it on in French.
  • In Take the Money and Run, Virgil attempts to rob a bank, and he fails because the tellers have difficulty reading past the spelling errors in his hold-up note, which says to "abt natural" because he has a "gub" pointed at them. The bank tellers even debate on whether he actually misspelled gun or if they just don't notice that the b is actually a c or n, and ask other people what they think, including a police officer.
  • The Postman: "You spelled 'tyranny' wrong."
  • Finding Forrester
    • A more serious version occurs in the film: lead character Jamal accidentally drops his writing journal near the apartment of reclusive writer William Forrester. Forrester sends the journal back to him with corrections and criticisms.
    • Then there's the scene where Jamal corrects the teacher's incorrect usage of farther/further.
    • William also criticizes Jamal's use of conjunctions at the beginning of paragraphs. Jamal retorts that this is actually a valid usage that has emerged during Forrester's time as a recluse (when you want to add emphasis or call attention to a point).
  • Seventeen Seventy Six: "The word is unalienable." "I'm sorry, but inalienable is correct." This after the huge fight over slavery.
  • A variation in The History Boys: "Hector would like that -- 'your sucking me off'. Hector likes gerunds."
  • In Secretary, Mr. Grey's edits of Lee's misspellings and typos actually become a method through which they have dominant-submissive S&M encounters.
  • In Amreeka, Fadi, a recent immigrant from the Middle East, leaves school with his cousin and finds out that someone has graffitied their car with "Al-Queda" (or something similar, not an accepted variant of al-Qaida). One of them points out they didn't even spell it right.


Jokes

  • A German joke:

 Child: Mama, Papa hat mir geschlagen! [Mom, Dad hit to me!]

Mother: Nicht "mir", sondern "mich"! [Not "to me", but "me"!]

Child: Was denn, Mama, dir auch? [What, Mom, he's hit to you too?]

    • A similar English joke.

 Student: Me and her went to the store.

Teacher: She and I.

Student: No, Ma'am. You weren't there.

  • Another joke:

 A: I just eaten seven sausages.

B: I think you mean "ate".

A: Oh, OK, I just eaten eight sausages. I wasn't keeping count!

  • Another joke:

 Student: I is...

Teacher: Never put "is" after "I". Always put "am" after "I".

Student: Okay. I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.


Literature

 Geal: I don't like it when you make fun of me and correct me, 'kay? It's one thing to fix my mistakes, but it's another to be so, um, infuratingly desirive about it.

Lassic: It's 'infur-i-atingly' and 'de-ri-sive.'

  • In Up the Down Staircase, a student gives a teacher a love letter. Unsure how to act, he treats it as an assignment -- proofreading and correcting it. The girl is Driven to (attempt) Suicide. The sequence is also retained in the 1967 film adaptation and theatrical adaptation.
  • In Sixth Grade Secrets, a boy writes a note to his teacher about how much he hates him (a requirement to join a club), and the teacher publicly tells him his grammar mistakes, and tells him to rewrite it.
  • In the young adult novel The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, a young, wealthy girl in the 1830s becomes a sailor, discovers the captain of the ship is evil and causes his death (long story). She writes all of this in her diary, which her father reads. This leads to a long lecture about telling lies about the captain, consorting with common sailors, and generally being unladylike and immoral, ending with: "and the spelling, Charlotte. The spelling!"
  • The book Eats, Shoots and Leaves is all about proper grammar, and advocates the creation of what amounts to a guerrilla punctuation-correction squadron.
  • In Things Can Only Get Better by John O'Farrell, the author describes how, as a young Socialist, he went round the walls of his home town spraying "Coal, not Dole." on the walls. Next day he is mocked by his comrades for taking so much time to get the punctuation right.
  • In the Book of the Radio Satire Show Week Ending Cabinet Leaks, Carol Thatcher's draft autobiography is covered in blue-pencilled notes from the publisher, which is fair enough. But at the end, they've written "C Minus Minus. Must try harder".
  • In The Truth, when William is in the watchhouse cell, he kills time by correcting the spelling in the graffiti.
  • A book of essays by John Scalzi is called Your Hate Mail Will be Graded.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events: Josephine has just barely managed to convince the ax-crazy villain to let her live. What does she do five seconds later? Well, correcting him on his grammar, of course! He then promptly throws her in a lake full of carnivorous leeches. The writer makes a huge point about Josephine's obsession with grammar and spelling. In fact, the way the kids realise her suicide note isn't sincere is by the large amount of spelling and grammar mistakes in it.
  • When a bad guy in Grave Peril tells Harry Dresden that "I will rip out thy heart!" Harry's immediate response is, "It's thine heart!"
  • In Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits, Nicolas sends love poems to his girlfriend Amanda.... and she sends them back, with corrections.
  • Private Eye once did a column spoofing the columnist Keith Waterhouse (a noted Grammar Nazi). In it he described seeing an incredibly offensive piece of graffiti "Down with wimmin, there all tarts" which so offended him that he had to paint over it... to change the "there" to "they're".
  • In Ramona's World, Ramona gets an essay back covered with red marks -- all correcting her spelling errors. This leads her to consider her teacher to be a grammar-and-spelling Nazi. Later she tells said teacher that the librarian's licence-plate is spelled wrong (It says LIBARY rather than LIBRARY) and is disappointed to learn that due to Oregon law, it couldn't be spelled in full. Even later she and Daisy send a letter to a local business, chastising them on their poor grammar in their newspaper ad.


Live-Action TV

  • There is also an episode of Monk in which the title character tries to get a job at a magazine, so he arrives at the interview with a whole stack of papers containing the errors in one issue of the magazine. Also, some of those corrections are debatable and may no longer apply, such as his complaint against the word "decimate". While the original use did indeed mean "to reduce by a tenth", specifically in relation to a punishment in the Roman legions, the modern use of the word pretty much means "to destroy completely" and has already been included in most dictionaries. Note that he does get the job but immediately quits, as he still wants to be a cop.
  • Stargate SG-1
    • In the episode "The Other Guys", after having his cover blown and being brought before the leader of a large group of Jaffa, O'Neill is zapped with a torture stick and has the following exchange:

 Hu'rak: No matter what you have endured, you've never experienced the likes of what Anubis is capable of.

Jack O'Neill: You ended that sentence with a preposition! Bastard!

    • This happens quite often in the series, being a trademark aspect of his character; deflating the theatrics of the Goa'uld is just what he does. When not outright correcting, he's delivering horrible puns.

 Ba'al: You can not be serious.

O'neill: Oh, no, I can. I just choose not to.

      • Ba'al only said that O'neill is capable of not being serious, which is correct. If he was incapable of being serious, that would mean he cannot be serious.
    • And then there's this gem:

 Ba'al: Do you not know the pain you will suffer for this impudence?

Jack O'Neill: I don't know the meaning of the word. Seriously... impudence... what does it mean?

    • Done hilariously in "Window of Opportunity." As more time loops go past, O'Neill and Teal'c learn more of the ancient language they need to decipher to end the loop. In one scene, Daniel is writing out the translation on a board and Teal'c AND O'Neill correct his translation. Later, we see Daniel sitting back flabbergasted while O'Neill and Teal'c write the translations themselves.
  • Frasier
    • Niles Crane has a habit of using a marker pen to correct all the grammar and spelling mistakes of the graffiti in public restrooms.
    • Daphne gives a lovely speech in the second season just to build up to a fantastic example of this:

 Daphne: I was very mistrusting of people back then. I was convinced the way to stay out of harm's way was to walk the streets with me eyes cast down, never meeting anyone's glance. But, finally, I decided that was no way to live, so one day I just lifted up me chin and took it all in. Well, the change was amazing. There were sights I'd never seen, sounds I've never heard. A tiny old man came up to me with a note in his hand. He needed help. I realized this was no city full of thieves and muggers. There were people here who needed me. I took his note, read it, and to this day I can remember just what I said to that man. "That's not how you spell 'fellatio'."

  • On How I Met Your Mother, Lily ruins a romantic moment by pointing out that Marshall confused your/you're. (Or Marshall ruined the moment for Lily by confusing your/you're in the first place.) And of course, the difference between "effect" and "affect" is one of only two things Marshall himself is really serious about.
  • In an episode of American Dreams, Patty got to go on American Bandstand and was asked on-air about the song that had just been performed. She responded by criticizing it for its poor grammar. The song was "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones. The plot of that episode was that Patty had gotten tired of the other kids picking on her being such a nerd and decided to make a go at being cool like her big sister Meg, so she let Meg and Roxanne give her an Unnecessary Makeover and bring her on the show. That scene demonstrated that even though she was wearing pretty clothes now, she was still the unhip know-it-all she had always been, thus setting up her Pygmalion Snapback.
  • Friends
    • In "The One with the Jellyfish", Ross reacts to a letter Rachel sends him:

 Ross: Oh, and by the way, Y-O-U-apostrophe-R-E means YOU ARE. Y-O-U-R means YOUR.

    • Also, on one occasion, Joey corrects Ross on the use of "who" vs. "whom". It fits because it's Joey.
  • In Bones, Hodgins signed for Zack's package, and flirts with the delivery girl.

 Zack: You bogarted my package!

Hodgins: You froze, so your package came into play. Also, complete misuse of the word "bogarted".

    • Also justified, as Zack has No Social Skills, including the ability to use slang, and Hodgins has taken it upon himself to help him learn.
  • Being Human:
    • George gets a job teaching English to foreign migrants. On a trip to the toilet, he notices they've written some insulting graffiti about him, so he corrects it. Then his boss walks in and tells him to stop defacing property.
    • In an earlier episode, after Mitchell is mistaken for a paedophile, the word "peedo" is sprayed onto their door. George's response is to yell at the neighbors, "There's one 'E' in 'paedo'!"
    • Apparently it runs in the family: in the episode in which George's dad appears, he points out a spelling error in his own obituary.
  • Played straight and semi-subverted by Ash Morgan and Danny Blue from Hustle does this in one episode.

 Danny: ... I'll be using three of my favourite words. "Unsubstantiated", "Libelous" and "Court Case".

Ash: "Court Case" is two words.

Danny: Oh yeah? Well I used a bloody hyphen!

  • A brilliant use of Comically Missing the Point in a Not the Nine O'Clock News skit usually referred to as "Not the Parrot Sketch": A headmaster reminds a schoolboy that he was accepted to the school on the basis of an essay he wrote about a parrot belonging to "My aunt, who I live with". Readings from his exam papers reveal that he has been answering every question in every subject by finding some tenuous way to re-tell the same anecdote in the same words. After several examples, the angry headmaster can stand it no more:

 "Do you think I'm some sort of idiot? Did you think I wouldn't notice? (beat) It's 'with whom I live'! 'My aunt with whom I live'! Not 'who I live with'!"

  • In Psych, Chief Vick ordering Shawn to not bring his father in when an old case of his is reopened.

 Chief: It goes without saying, Mr. Spencer, that your father is in no way to participate in this investigation. He's no longer on the force, and his meddling could compromise the case in court. Do I make myself clear?

Shawn: Yes you do, Chief. What isn't clear is why people always say "goes without saying," yet still feel compelled to say the thing that was supposed to go without saying. Doesn't that bother you?

Chief: No! And frankly, I could care less.

Gus: Now that's the one that bothers me. Why do people say "I could care less" when they really mean "I couldn't care less"?

Chief: Well, why don't you tell me how to properly say this? If you share any official information about this case with your father, or let him anywhere near any new evidence, then the two of you will have to find another police department to work for, and I will personally see to it that each of you is charged with obstruction of justice.

Gus: You split an infinitive.

Shawn: Good catch, Gus!

Chief: You two realize I carry a gun, right?

Gus: That was perfectly elocuted.

  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie has a sketch about a too-nice, Extreme Doormat teacher whose class ignores him. When he comes in, the blackboard has "YOU BARSTAD" written on it. He tells one of the students that it's spelled "bastard": "Otherwise, good."
  • On The Good Guys, the reason Jack was demoted and sent to work with Dan is that he corrected a superior officer in public that there is no "statue of limitations." Knowing the character it probably was not the first time he did something like this.
  • In The X-Files episode "Small Potatoes", a man who can shape-shift decides to replace Mulder in hopes of a more interesting life. When he and Scully (who is unaware) return to Washington to hand in their reports, there is this scene with A.D. Skinner:

 Skinner: Which one of you wrote this?

Eddie Van Bluhnt (as Mulder): I did, sir.

Skinner: You spelled "Federal Bureau of Investigation" wrong.

Eddie Van Blunht (as Mulder): It was a typo.

Skinner: Twice.

  • Series one of Little Britain has the character of a teacher who had married one of his former students, but continues to treat her as if she is still at school. In one episode, when she gives him a card for their wedding anniversary, he proceeds to correct the grammar mistakes and put "See Me" at the end.


Music

  • Serge Gainsbourg wrote a whole song around this idea: "En relisant ta lettre" ("Rereading your letter").
  • The Tragically Hip have "Luv [Sic]".
  • A lesser-known Monty Python number called "School Song" features Michael Palin as a schoolteacher hectoring boys during an assembly singalong. At one point he snaps "You don't spell 'wank' with a c, Barworth!"
  • Ja Rule, in a diss he made to Shady Records, spelled murder M-U-R-E-D-R. Swifty responded with, "You claimin' you a murderer but you spelled it wrong / You put E before the D because that's all you on."
  • A mid-'90s Chipmunks Country Collaboration album had Simon paired with Aaron Tippin singing his big hit, "There Isn't Ain't Anything Nothing Wrong with the Radio". (Simon kept correcting the lyrics while he was singing the song, earning Tippin's ire.)
  • Sloan's first single "Underwhelmed" is made of this.

 She wrote out a story about her life

I think it included something about me

I'm not sure of that, but I'm sure of one thing

Her spelling's atrocious

She told me to read between the lines

And tell her exactly what I got out of it

I told her, "'affection' has two 'f's

"Especially when you're dealing with me."

    • Though that last line is also quite a sly pun, particularly in the context of the song.
  • Who could forget "I Love You Period" by Dan Baird?

 Then one day I decided,

that I would write a little letter

She said the spellin' was a masterpiece,

the punctuation could be better

I understood what she was saying,

I got the gist of her sentiment

She said "I don't mean to be degrading,

"but here's the way that it should've went:"


New Media

  • Sexy Chat Win.
    • Ironically, he himself misspells the word "sentence" while correcting the other person's grammar.


Theater

  • In the song "One Hundred Easy Ways" in Wonderful Town, Ruth explains how to lose a man by correcting his grammar:

 You've found your perfect mate and it's been love from the start,

He whispers, "You're the one to who I give my heart."

Don't say, "I love you, too, my dear, let's never, never, part,"

Just say, "I'm afraid you've made a grammatical error. It's not 'To who I give my heart', it's 'To whom I give my heart.' -- You see, with the use of the preposition 'to,' 'who' becomes the indirect object, making the use of 'whom' imperative; which I can easily show you by drawing a simple chart."

That's a fine way to lose a man.


Video Games

 Lewton: Can I see the Count?

Butler: I am not in a position to ascertain the effectiveness of sir's eyesight. However, sir may see the Count, which is what I believe sir was attempting in sir's uneducated way to ask.

  • In one part of Dragon Quest IX, a pair of Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains kidnap the daughter of a rich family and demand a ransom. The person who finds the note reads it and is absolutely shocked at their craptacular spelling. It actually takes him a second to realise they kidnapped her.


Web Animation

  • Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation visually did this during the "mailbag showdown" where the emails that appeared on screen were corrected as they were read (including one instance of "See Me [After Class]").
  • Strong Bad from Homestar Runner usually pronounces the misspelled words the way they're spelled, though occasionally he will tab up into the message and edit the errors. Among other things, the character of Homsar was born this way... his name was originally a misspelling of Homestar in an early sbemail.


Web Comics

 Maxim: You misspelled "dismemberment"!

Shadow: Luckily, I'm better at doing it than spelling it...

 Riff: This isn't good.

Kiki: What is it?

Riff: There are typos everywhere! Sam can't even spell vampire!

  • This strip of Girls with Slingshots is a good example of this trope.
  • The Order of the Stick
    • Xykon allegedly killed an executioner for spelling "guillotine" wrong in his daily reports. He will also berates anyone who misspells his name in their speech balloons.
    • In one Dragon Magazine strip, Vaarsuvius chastises two hostile undead for constantly ending their sentences with prepositions... while trying to evade the same opponents with a "Hide from Undead" spell cast by Durkon. Obviously, this breaks the spell prematurely.
  • This Strip of Out at Home has Penny break the fourth wall and correct the spelling on the speech bubbles of her fourth wall ignorant friend.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal plays with the trope here.
  • The Where Are They Now? Epilogue to Get Medieval stated that, ten years after the main events, the comic books Neithe writes always contain a thank-you to Asher in their acknowledgments... "and his articles often contain lists of her mistakes." Neithe is shown laughing heartily as she reads what's apparently one of those lists.
  • This strip of Cyanide and Happiness.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob has the North American Grammar Squirrel. He first appeared when Molly and Golly were arguing about the correct adverb form of "cosmogony". It's "cosmogonically", in case you wondered.
  • Penny Arcade employs Mr. Period and his friends for this purpose.
  • The Oatmeal LOVES this trope.


Web Original

  • The website Acts of Gord claims that "The Gord" does this whenever someone gives him a bad CV. An example (about halfway down).
  • The Onion writes about bad spelling and grammar in suicide notes, naturally Comically Missing the Point.
  • Sex columnist Dan Savage will occasionally respond to hate mail simply with grammar corrections. He's also inclined to correct his own errors in his blog, when pointed out.
  • Naturally, shows up often in the Protectors of the Plot Continuum stories. Upon seeing a Captain Obvious title that promised a particularly gory mission, one agent said, "Is it bad that my first response to that was 'That needs an Oxford comma'?"
  • This short film takes the concept and runs with it.
  • This College Humor sketch features a Nazi who is also a Grammar Nazi.
  • The Nostalgia Critic's Top 11 F*ck Ups had the fans constant pointing out of little spelling mistakes he made in the list, including one where he spells Nostalgia wrong.
  • Inversion: a minor Fark.com joke started when a user known as "rotsky" attempted to correct the spelling of a submitted article about Britney Spears losing custody of her children, but in the process wound up spelling a word wrong. The full story of the meme's origin can be read here.
  • In the middle of ranting about how he thinks Chris Brown is a horrible excuse for a human being, Todd in the Shadows also grammar-checks one of his tweets, giving him a D-.
  • It is common practice for a commenter on FSTDT to correct the poor spelling, grammar, and word usage of truly hysterical fundies, in addition to (or sometimes, instead of) mocking the factual inaccuracies of their posts.
  • YouTube often has responses to words that are spelled fine stating that the given word is spelled wrong, except the "correct" spelling is a completely different word, usually an antonym.


Western Animation

  • Futurama
    • "Love and Rocket" has the Omicronians getting upset over a candy that said "Wuv", with an Earth W.

 Lrr: This concept of "wuv" confuses and infuriates us!

    • Played with in a conversation between the Donbot and henchman Joey Mousepad, the latter's habitual mangled English being a Running Gag.

 Joey Mousepad: But what if management proves intragnizant?

Donbot: From the context it is clear what you mean.

  • On an earthquake-themed episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, Hamton and Plucky are hanging on the edge of a massive crack in the earth, with Buster and Babs hopping to the rescue.

 Buster and Babs: We gotcha! We gotcha!

Hamton: That's not proper grammar!

 Sonic: You spelled "kidnapped" with a "c".

Robotnik: So? When I take over Mobius, that's how everyone will spell it!

  • The Simpsons
    • One episode revealed that Otto, Bart's bus driver, not only failed every segment of his driver's ed test, he misspelled "bus" on his application.
    • In "Bart the Genius", Martin critiques the spelling of Bart's graffiti.

 Martin: The preferred spelling of "wiener" is W-I-E-N-E-R. Although E-I is an acceptable ethnic variant.

    • Later in that same episode Bart writes a confession note to the deceived district psychologist. The response:

 Dr. Pryor: You know, you misspelled "confession".

 Tammi: Can I go to the bathroom?

Peggy: Can you, or could you? You may.

 Kid: Hey, it's the lady from the school that has the big ass!

Donna: (scolding) Language!

Kid: Hey, it's the lady from the school who has the big ass!

Donna: There you go!

    • Later in the same episode, Cleveland refers to "that time I helped that homeless person." Cut to Cleveland correcting the spelling on a homeless man's cardboard sign.
  • A US Acres cartoon on Garfield and Friends has Orson receiving the cryptic ultimatum "The bunny rabbits is coming." The ever-paranoid Wade starts freaking out, but Orson only remarks "Shouldn't that be 'The bunny rabbits are coming?'" This eventually becomes a Running Gag throughout the short.
    • And soon, some characters are replacing are with is in their sentences (and vice versa).
  • From Avatar: The Last Airbender, during the escape from the Boiling Rock:

 Zuko: Hey! You watch who you're shoving!

Chit Sang: I think you mean whom I'm shoving!

    • Granted, they had staged the fight so that Zuko could unbolt the cooler from the inside, but it's still funny.
  • Doug: When Mrs. Wingo reads her farewell card in "Doug Graduates", she informs Roger that "Sayonara suckers!" is two words.
  • Danger Mouse once has Colonel K contact DM to say:

 Col. K: Wales is being devastated by a fire-breathing dragon!

Penfold: Shouldn't that be, "Whales are being devastated"?

Col. K: Not whales! Wales!"

  • Befitting a reporter, Clark Kent once used this to defeat Mr. Mxyzptlk in Superman the Animated Series.
  • The Proud Family: Penny, in voice-over, says the only reason she didn't pull this trope on the Drill Sergeant Nasty in episode "Diary of a Bad Girl" was because her mouth was full of the cookies she stole, when he sarcastically asked, "Got no milk?"


Real Life

  • The Marquis de Favras, upon being handed his death warrant, was quoted saying, "I see that you have made three spelling mistakes."
  • This dialogue between a linguist and her child -- done as an experiment and used to demonstrate that children don't learn grammar by feedback from Grammar Nazi parents:

 Child: Nobody don't like me.

Mother: No, say, "Nobody likes me."

Child: Nobody don't like me.

(repeat several times)

Mother: No, now listen carefully; say, "Nobody likes me."

Child: Oh! Nobody don't likes me.

  • At one college, professors who were "in lecture" had "il" after their names. Which resulted in the sign, "Professor Brown is il. (sic)"
  • College students often correct poor grammar in bathroom graffiti. It's common to see comments like "See me after class!" scrawled alongside poorly-composed comments.
  • Who here has really needed to go the bathroom at school, only to have their teacher correct your question to whether you may go to the bathroom rather than can?.
    • Some foreign language teachers take it a step further and insist that you ask such things in the language in question; for instance, if the class is Spanish, you might have to ask "Puedo ir al baño?", and asking in English gets you a "No comprendo" in response.[5]
    • In the Romance languages, and likely others, it's impossible to distinguish between "can" and "may" without resorting to such constructions as "do I have the physical ability" or "do I have permission?"
  • This. Unfortunately, the corrector is also wrong. He or she didn't loop the slash, nor did he or she include the top part of the "join" mark. Fortunately, that does not make her grammar wrong.
  • Principal writes memo full of typos - parents & teachers give him an 'F'
  • Weird Al Yankovic, as demonstrated by exhibit A and exhibit B.
    • His band also gets into the act in "Al's Band":

 People ask us what it's like in Al's band

What it's like to be in Mr. Yankovich's band

Then we tell them that it's Mr. Yankovic's band

Not a CH; the C sounds just like a K

  • One anecdote relates that a man stopped his car in the area covered by a "No Stoping" sign. He was able to convince the judge to let him go without penalty on the basis that he was not extracting ore from the area around the sign, but merely stopping. "Stoping" with single "p" is indeed a real English word, and denotes a method of underground mining.
  • The Best Obnoxious Responses to Misspellings on Facebook.
    • Ironically, the second item on that list could very well have intended to use "then" rather than "than"
  • At the Council of Constance (1412–23), one of the Cardinals had corrected an error of Emperor Sigismund's Latin grammar, to which he replied: "Ego sum rex romanis et supra grammaticam" (I am the king of the Romans and above grammar).
  • Oscar Wilde was famously condemned as a homosexual when he accused libel against the Marquess of Queensberry. The Marquess had written on a calling card, "For Oscar Wilde, posing as a Somdomite." Wilde officially was responding to the fact that sodomy was a crime, but the odds are that Wilde, being Oscar freaking Wilde, was more offended by the misspelling than being called the equivalent of a fag.
  • Renee Hicks, during her Comedy Central Presents special, talked about seeing a sign in a store's window in Mississippi that stated "Niger, if the sun don't shine, we better not see your black behind!" She went in to complain to the guy.

  Renee Hicks: Well that didn't stop me, because I don't answer to that! I walked up in there all the way to the counter and I said "Hey, you see that sign out there? Well, the word 'Nigger' is spelled with two G's, you stupid-ass!"

  • This Google search: apparently, spelling "school" is hard to do. Especially on a school lane.

Notes

  1. I think you meant to say "That'll TEACH 'em." I Believe you meant to say "That'll TEACH them."
  2. This is the sort of nonsense up with which we will not put!
  3. For example, "that'll learn 'em" actually comes from an archaic meaning of the verb "to learn" which means "to teach".
  4. Literally Latin for "thus", as in "found thus".
  5. Ironically, the stem-changing verb Poder from which Puedo is derived from translates to "to be able", i.e. "can", so this is roughly asking "Can I go to the bathroom?", which most teachers dislike.
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