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Are NASCAR and Grammar Mutually Exclusive?

March 1, 2012

The above is a picture of Page 158 of the Official Souvenir Program from this year’s Daytona 500 Race. Notice anything odd about it?

The section, entitled “Kid Zone,” is part of a glossy, professionally published program that was offered for sale to the many fans who attended the race (I’ve seen numbers that range anywhere from 140,000 to 200,0000).

What are we to think? I’m going to assume the creator of this puzzle (and what a puzzle it is!) doesn’t know the difference between a verb and a noun, because if the error had been nothing more than a typo, it probably wouldn’t have been repeated several times. That’s sad enough. But what about the editor? Are we to conclude that the editor of this publication was absent on the day his grade school teacher taught grammar? Or that the editor really does know the difference between a verb and a noun, but thought it would be a funny joke to pretend otherwise? Or maybe the editor didn’t edit at all. Maybe he was out to lunch when the magazine went to print.

Really, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I saw this. It’s a simple fill-in-the-blank, and yet the “hints” that are intended to help a child learn the difference between a noun and a verb will instead have the opposite effect. The child who spends time completing this paragraph will come away from it knowing less than she did before she started.

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe it doesn’t really matter if a kid knows the difference between a verb and a noun. Maybe it doesn’t really matter that at least two adults – two adults involved in the publication of a magazine – don’t know, either.

Nah, it matters.


Julie Compton is the internationally published author of two novels, Tell No Lies and Rescuing Olivia, both from St. Martin’s Minotaur. She can be reached at

  1. March 1, 2012 8:08 am

    Wondering if you informed them.

  2. March 1, 2012 9:26 am

    You bet it matters. Sorry to say, I’m not surprised by this sort of discovery anymore …

  3. Julie Compton permalink
    March 1, 2012 10:04 am

    Yes, I will be! I’m co-chairing the SleuthFest conference that started just today in Orlando, but come Monday when life returns to normal, you bet I’ll be sending an email to let them know.

    By the way, if anyone’s interested in SleuthFest, it’s not too late. You can register onsite at the conference hotel, the Royal Plaza near Disney. For info, (Had to get that plug in!)

  4. Chris Hamilton permalink
    March 1, 2012 12:41 pm

    Have fun at Sleuthfest!

    Also, sorry for posting on top of you. I forgot it was your week.

    Also, with regard to grammar, the Barney song is grammatically incorrect. When my kids were little and I pointed it out, I basically got “Lighten up Francis,” as a response. Considering the Barney song is wrong, nothing surprises me any more.

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