One of the things I absolutely can not stand is poor grammar. I have not hired people because of their inability to use your/you’re in correspondence and have stopped being friends with someone who described every color with the word “pitch” in front of it (as in pitch black). Don’t even get me started on the use of apostrophes or which witch is which. I’m also fluent en français which means I get two opportunities to see bad grammar. Lucky me!
I’ve noticed recently that French sayings are really having a moment in fashion right now, appearing on sweaters and t-shirts all over the place. While I adore this trend (who doesn’t love a cute saying in a foreign language?) it’s pretty obvious that the companies designing some of the clothes are really not even trying to make sure their grammar is correct. I suppose it shouldn’t matter seeing as the mass majority of people buying the items don’t have a clue – or care- what the grammatical exactitude is, but I just can’t get over it.
Like this shirt, at left. Sold by ASOS, the “Pardon Moi” shirt is one example of how I can’t get over the bad grammar on this otherwise cute shirt. In my opinion, the shirt is trying to say “Pardonner Moi” which translates to “Excuse Me”. I suppose you could say “Pardonne-moi” (like the 2001 song) if you are a girl using the phrase. Overall, it’s just not something a French speaker would say and irks me. But the sweater is super cute.
Or then there is this shirt, again from ASOS called the Brashy Couture J’aime Francais shirt. The saying is “J’aime le français” I decided to ask the authority on the French language in my family, my French mother-in-law who was born and raised in France. She agrees with my French grammatical errors but laughed at me when I told her it irritated me. She said that so many people are infatuated with the notion of romance and mysteriousness of the French language that they don’t care about the details like grammar. Plus, she said, they didn’t know that there was anything wrong with it, so why should I care?
I suppose this is yet another of those cases where I certainly won’t be buying the shirts, but really need to stop caring about trying to “fix” everyone else. Besides, if there was a cute saying on a t-shirt in Spanish, it could say “I like to hump dogs” for all I knew. (Ok, I would probably Google the saying to make sure it didn’t involve humping dogs, but you get my drift)
So I’ll also throw the offer out there to other grammar gestapo members – if you’re going to get anything with a French saying on it and you’re not familiar with the language, send me a picture of the item! I’ll tell you if you’re going to be grammatically – and fashion – correct.