Montreal sweaters get complicated

The Montreal Canadiens have started putting accent marks on the players’ jerseys. It never occurred to me that they weren’t there, but now that it’s been pointed out, I wonder why it’s taken so long.

“I like to write things the right way,” said Pierre Gervais, the longtime equipment manager in charge of putting name bars on the Canadiens’ uniforms.

General Manager Marc Bergevin signed off on the idea, and voilà, linguistic sports history was made. Montreal is the first N.H.L. club to have a policy of rendering players’ names accurately on their uniforms.

Seems like a no-brainer: “rendering players’ names accurately.” Gervais says that the reason they never did it before was because the cloth that the names are sewn onto was too narrow, as though cloth comes in only one size and can never be made differently. But now, with technology, cloth comes in many sizes! Lame excuse, Pierre.

Gervais said the accents were made possible by technology. Until recently, the strip of cloth for name bars was too shallow.

At any rate, I’m glad that Montreal is the first team to do it.

Daniel Briere Montreal Canadiens accent marks
Montreal center Daniel Brière will finally be able to play hockey without the embarrassment of having his last name spelled wrong on his sweater.

Required reading for any language person

I’ve encountered my share of know-it-alls and fussbudgets in the editing (and writing) world, many of whom probably really believe they are doing God’s work and making the world a better place by pointing out every single misspelling, misplaced comma, or unconventional usage.

I wrote about the topic earlier this year when people corrected President Obama’s grammar on Reddit, but this blogger’s series of posts are far more graceful and informative. If you work with words, either writing or editing, or are interested in language at all, her posts should be required reading.

Fact is, language is hard, and some people are better at it than others. And there are a lot of people who only think they’re good at it. Best policy, as with many things, is to be less judgmental.

An exciting development in political punctuation!

In the waning days of this presidential election season, the two major campaigns are doing everything they can to squeeze out every last vote.

It’s an exciting time in American politics. So exciting, in fact, that the Obama campaign decided it was time to add an exclamation point to its “Forward” slogan. This replaces the period, which, oddly, generated a little geeky controversy.

While most polls show the two camps are close, this move by Obama is likely to propel his prospects. If he manages to take this election, it will be because of this bold punctuation decision.

Mark my words.

Before. Just a boring old period.
After. Same slogan, but now with more excitement!