Word Crimes, by Weird Al Yankovic

Have you seen Word Crimes, Weird Al Yankovic’s take on grammar? It seems like Al is a bit of a hawk on all things spelling and syntax (sincerity allowing). As is his style, Al has exercised his bête noire in the form of pastiche; Word Crimes apes Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. Hashtags and all.

Yankovic’s ditty has inspired those folks at the Independent, who have provided a list of their own annoyances about the English language. Prime among these is the misuse of ‘its’ and ‘it’s’, and it’s interesting to see the acceptance that ‘whom’ is dying a death.

However, Word Crimes is proving divisive. Slate’s Forrest Wickman is not convinced that Yankovic’s song is correct on all the ‘grammatical and orthographic blunders’ it highlights. Take the usage of less and fewer:


The graphic above from the video comes pretty close to nailing this one, though its use of supermarket checkout signs is misleading: SNOOTs often suggest that checkout signs should read “10 items or fewer,” but Oxford Dictionaries writes that this is a hypercorrection: “10 items or less” is perfectly fine.

Apart from the grammatical misgivings, there’s Yankovic’s use of the word ‘spastic’

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