Wednesday, July 8, 2009

WMCA Volume Two: I'll Always Point Out Your Bad Grammar Last Summer

See? What Miserable Cover Art is here to stay. Two days strong. That's saying something.

Sometimes the cover art is going to be my main complaint about a cover, but other times, despite this being 'miserable cover art', I will talk about the taglines or the way the text is presented, because the cover as a whole should work for itself, not against. Did that make sense? Anyway, I'm complaining almost exclusively about the tagline on the cover of I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer:

Now it's a little hard to make out the text with its wavy italicization, but what the tagline says is this:

What he knows, might kill you...

What he knows Comma might kill you Ellipsis. Reading it like that makes as much sense as reading it like the cover wants you to read it. The comma is trying to create a pause, a tension, really driving home that this guy knows something. Smart move, box designers. So smart that the comma has now been used in a revolutionary new way no one knew possible. A comma is used to divide articles in a sentence that actually need division. This pause does not work. The only way this comma makes sense is if the speaker is listing a number of articles, which they aren't, or if "what he knows" and "might kill you" are completely different ideas. They aren't. One is complimenting the other. Or, it would if not for little ol' comma.

The ... is severely misused in today's world. The perfect example of this misuse would be the cover above. Trying yet again to be suspenseful the tagline falls flat by assuming there's something more that need not be said. The sentence is over. You need a period tacked on, and then a deletion of three other periods. A simpler method would be deleting two of them. Read the tagline now, with everything exactly as it should be:

What he knows might kill you.

"Ohhhh. That's what they meant?"

Come on! The first sequel had taglines that made sense. Well, they're syntactically sound, if not using proper capitalization, and... uh...

At least they framed the breasts right.

- Eric T. Voigt, I Know What I'm Talking About But I'm No Grammar Scholar

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