Butchering grammar, one fragment at a time

Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t need Grammar Police? If everyone just played nicely and spoke well, wouldn’t the world be just a little bit better?

I plan to point out to you some areas where grammar is poor and English usage could improve. This is an invitation to all of you. Contribute to my list! As if I could possibly run out!

The following wins today’s prize. Stand in line at a store—or just about anywhere you need to be waited on. An employee is freed up, and he or she calls out, “I can help who’s ever next!”

Hold on. You can do what? To whom? Who is ever going to be next? Or am I ever, always, next? I never feel ever next, anywhere I go. I wonder what that means for me. More to the point, will you help me if I am ever next?

The speaker, I believe, if I can interpret her meaning, is trying to say, “I can help whoever is next.” But halfway through the invitation, she butchers the language, mixing up the pronoun and misplacing the verb for a brief moment. I would like to spend time correcting her grammar, but I have waited in line for too long, and I am ever next.


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