Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spotting An Error

‘Raffles City is spotting a fashionable new look’ (full front-page advertisement, ST Life!, 26 March 2008).

Make it: Raffles City is sporting a fashionable new look.
This error may be attributed — apart from mere ignorance — to the neutralization in Singapore English of the distinction between the short and long vowels in SHOT and SHORT.


Anonymous said...

I just love your blog. Just hope that you can be my English Teacher

The Grammar Terrorist said...

Thanks for your very kind and encouraging comments ;--)

anothercopywriter said...

You're very kind to attribute the blatant error to the ignorance of the difference between short and long vowels. I'd see that as the copywriter's lack of knowledge of the meaning of the word "sport" as a verb, or at least, his/her being too lazy to look up a dictionary. The advertiser can be ignorant, but the advertising agency, especially the copywriter, shouldn't have been.

The Grammar Terrorist said...

Yes, it's probably both: when people don't know a word, they try to guess its spelling from its sound, and it doesn't help when vowels are merged and words like 'spot' and 'sport' become identical in pronunciation. Another case in point: '(Harry) Potter' is spelt 'Porter' by some Singaporeans ... including some of our Ministry of Education officers!

But yes, I absolutely agree -- the copywriter should've known better. It's not as if 'to sport a new look' is such an obscure expression.