Thursday, August 9, 2012

United What?

A new reality show starring a family of twenty-one people—friends of the famous Duggars of “19 Kids and Counting”--has just been announced. The group fondly known on “19 Kids” as “the Bates” are getting their own show.

Sorry, I cannot watch a show titled “United Bates of America.” It isn’t because the name isn’t clever; it’s because “Bates” is incorrect. The plural form of Bates, the family’s last name, is Bateses. Calling them “the Bates” should have been nipped in the bud when the Duggars started doing it. Now the whole nation will follow along. Where were these people when plurals were taught in English class? After all, we don’t say “keeping up with the Jones.”

Sometimes at my old job, we had contests to name new products. At other times, a group from the project would sit around a table and brainstorm. Whatever process was used for the new show, it seems somebody along the way could have piped up when “United Bates of America” was suggested. Didn’t anyone realize they were making a grammatical goof?
Since I started this blog, I’ve been accused of…well, how can we say it? I’ve been told I’m not at my best when dishing out grammatical advice. People prefer funny. There is nothing funny about my opinion of “the Bates.” I don’t mean the twenty-one people in the family; they seem like nice folks, and I wish them well. I mean the mistake we’re bound to hear again and again as summer becomes fall and one ad after another introduces us to “the Bates.” Enjoy the show if you watch it. I have to save my teeth, which I would surely grind to nubs during the first season.

For those of you who would like something funny rather than the 5:00 a.m. ravings of a caf-fiend, I'll take it under advisement. 


  1. Oh, how I agree with you Jane. I have not heard about this show, but I get the point. Why can't ad agencies that write copy for ads take time to be grammatically correct? One that comes to mind is that brand X has less calories than brand Y. Why not say fewer? Why can't TV script writers use good grammar in programs where the vernacular isn't the point? And what really annoys me is news anchors and weather people using bad grammar. "Me and John went to the park." "Michael Phelps had...swam (Savannah Guthrie, Today Show actually said something like this. It's not an exact quote but I know it was "have" followed a word or two later with "swam.")." "John and myself interviewed him." "John talked with Matt and I." I've heard all these. Arrrrrghhhhhh!

    1. I hear you, Marla! Sometimes it seems to me that many people disregard or do not know the rules of grammar and punctuation. However, being a new Smartphone customer, I do understand the new "typing," which often breaks the rules. I have yet to figure out how to do a capital letter on my phone. : ) It's good to hear from you!