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back to article Transformers helmsman demolishes English language

A whiny email from Transformers director Michael Bay to bosses at Paramount Studio pits the recreator of Optimus Prime against the rules of English grammar. The electronic missive (pdf), sent in May and leaked to gossip site TMZ, takes issue with Paramount's alleged lack of effort in promoting Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen …

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IS there?

A new transformers Film out...???

It must have been a film in disguise...

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Alert

I suppose I won't be the first...

...to point out that our rebel colonial cousins long since forswore using correct English.

It has been a deliberate policy of theirs to abjure anything reminiscent of Mother England (e,g, manners, politeness, consideration, etc.) so one assumes that's why they have abandoned precision in language and communication.

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Sly
Coat

who cares about grammar

the movie's got killer special effects.

mines the one with the car exploding mid air off a cliff on the back

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i was just thinking

90% of people won't even be able to see what's wrong with it.

It's amazing how many people i come across that use "would of"

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Pedancy Vs understanding

With a multicultural Internet and communications network I think it is sufficient to be understood unless one is producing a thesis for an English language/ English literature degree. But then again I don't give really give a fsck about pedants. However illiteracy does give one a clue to the level of education achieved by the writer though not necessarily his/her intelligence.

Besides this man is American is he not? It would be unfair to expect him to have full command of the English language. I am English, yet I struggle sometimes.

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The first one was cack

I fully expect the second one to be too, bizarre that Star Trek was written by the same guys.

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Happy

@Pedancy Vs understanding

From the general thrust of your post I so know you want me to tell you the word is 'pedantry'

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Bod

Well...

... this is after all the same muppet who threw his toys out of the pram over Blu-Ray because he thought it made his films look better when at the time those stubborn Paramount types were backing HD DVD (for what it's worth, the two turned out to be absolutely carbon copy identical in picture).

He's got influence though, regardless of his grammar. I'm certain his voice and (frankly irrational) love for Blu-Ray was a major factor in killing HD DVD. If it wasn't for the Paramount connection, he'd likely have been in bed and had babies with Sony and his offspring army would have single handedly annihilated the evil empire of Toshiba and Microsoft ;)

Still, formats aside, the first is a cracking film to watch. Mindless plot as always, but still fun.

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Unhappy

Smaller timeframe for changes

In college I had to write a research paper. Some people chose to go the easy route; not me: "The History Of the English Language With an Emphasis On the Letter 'C'". The teacher's eyebrow raised so much it was on her neck. This is the same teacher, when asked to write a compare/contrast paper, I chose "Video Games/Sex." The section on controllers was excessively detailed.

According to my research, it took hundreds, maybe thousands, of years for changes in the spoken language to occur, with the quickest being attributed to war. Now, in less than 20 years, our version of the English language has been slaughtered to the point that spelling and grammar are actually being phased out of my daughter's school. I still remember her telling me, "that's how a kindergartner spells it."

They're now actually considering getting rid of penmanship.

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Paris Hilton

@admin

That's "pedantry".

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Stop

I see what you did there.

"Perceived" overreliance. Hahaha.

But yes, true, in the strict meaning of "to observe".

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Michael Bay

Needs to STFU.

He whined last time and he's whining this time. He's a serial fucking whiner.

Go away Michael Bay, we don't care how much you fail and like to blame it on everyone but yourself.

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Boffin

Can someone explain what's wrong with the second sentence

So that we, the ones that do not have our English embedded in our brains at birth by virtue of seeing the light in the sacred land of English language (UK) can at least share your disdain for the people that routinely use bad grammar and spelling (even the ones from the UK)

Because the 'I still run into....' is something that I see coming from native English UK people over and over. And not being native English speaker makes me accept what comes from them as usually correct.

Grammar nazis?

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Dead Vulture

Fan's traumas...

I hadn't noticed any obvious lack of publicity, personally. And as emails go, that one seems fairly comprehensible. Is there a 'not news' icon?

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Anonymous Coward

innit?

title sez all

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Anonymous Coward

Well, it's a good thing...

...that he's a director of action movies rather than an author! Oh, and he relies too much on special effects... in his movies ABOUT GIANT ROBOTS AND HUGE EXPLOSIONS. What was he supposed to do, have all the robots doing stuff off-screen? Turn Transformers into a dialog-driven drama? His freakin' JOB is to make movies that rely on special effects! What's next, oh brilliant movie critics - are you going to complain that 2001 relied too much on spaceship scenes?!

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Alert

Somewhere a Wesleyan professor is weeping

My good friend Steven says the grammar is fine. My good friends Steven and Jerry understand me perfectly. My good friend Steven appreciates my work. My good friend Steven says that the only film I have done that is better than my last film is my next film. Jerry says Steven is even more successful than Jerry and I are - and that's saying something considering how successful Jerry and I are.

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@scottboy

That should be "@adnim"

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@Can someone explain what's wrong with the second sentence

The second line has poor punctuation, but the rest of the grammar is clumsy rather than wrong;

corrected:

I still run into so many people with kids, even this weekend, who ask, “is that movie coming out this year?”

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Stop

@Can someone explain what's wrong with the second sentence

There's actually nothing wrong with "I still run into..."

It's the rest of the sentence that's problematic. A bit of punctuation would help because It's not clear who's asking the question, people or kids. Without a few commas to help out he's also saying that weekends have kids.

It should be "kids who", not "kids that" as well.

It's much better than the first sentence. But, as many people have pointed out, we know what he means so does it really matter?

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@the pedants

I sit corrected... I shall stand up at some point soon, but for now I shall remain seated.

I did write "I am English, yet I struggle sometimes." As you can see I am no liar.

I guess a pedancy is somewhere a foot lives.

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Grammar?

I can see that there was a bad mistake in the first "grammatically horrifying" sentence, saying "would of" instead of "would have".

The second sentence is somewhat run-together, and lacking in commas. A fully correct version would be:

'Even this weekend, I still ran into so many people with kids that ask "Is that movie coming out this year".'

So the lack of a capital letter on "is", and the use of the present-tense "run" instead of the past tense "ran" are indeed errors. I've seen far worse.

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So he got some words wrong so what

Maybe he should have used a spell checker but he's still a talented guy.

I liked Revenge of the Fallen and I do see what he was talking about with the lack of promotion.

Did anyone else notice that less than a week before release Odeon wasn't showing it as being on, then two days before it comes out it's listed as one showing in manchester?!

For those of you who complain about people "ruining our languade" why don't yee go back and learn old english you bunch of prescriptives :P

English is all about change you know.

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Can I just say...

... as someone who grew up on the REAL Transformers that Bay's pretenders are nowhere near as good.

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pun alert

hmm, there's more than meets the eye to this....

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@Beer monster

I noticed as soon as I clicked 'Post comment'. I'll be sitting in the corner all night.

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Flame

@Alistair MacRae

"English is all about change you know."

And here I was thinking it was about communicating in a, reasonably, unambiguous manner.

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Boffin

@Si 1

agree 100%

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I'd have been more concerned...

...if Michael ('Pearl Harbor') Bay wrote grammatically pure, beautiful prose - and yet still directed cinematic dreck like 'Transformers'.

I actually think he's getting worse - not quite Roland ('Universal Soldier') Emmerich bad, but still buttock-clenchingly dreadful.

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My 2 cents.

Well the issue I had with TF1 was that instead of a plot (the old Cartoon 30 min episodes had more in dept plots) they put as many references to Pepsi products (mostly mountain dew), Ford, Ebay, and Nokia as possible also he added a bunch of explosions. Then he shoots almost every action scene (I don't remember any where the cameraman doesn't seem to be suffering from Parkinson's disease) with a shaky camera, so you can't see any action very clearly so they end up looking like shit.

And to defend Paramount wouldn't advertising a hour and a half long Ford commercial be kind of repetitive?

Transformers 1 was the 1st and last Michael Bay film I will ever see. Actually TF1 was so bad it was the last movie I've seen in the theaters that's how ripped off I felt. Now I just wait for movies to come on satellite instead of wasting $25 to see the shit Hollywood is putting out.. Wish Hollywood would learn pirates are not the reason their revenue is down its horrendous movies made by people like Michael Bay driving people away from the theaters.

And to the people who are thinking OHH HE PROBABLY WILL PIRATE IT I have not downloaded ANYTHING Hollywood has put out period. I don't feel like wasting my bandwidth on that drivel.

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Dead Vulture

try this bad grammar on for size

Who.

Fucking.

Cares.

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Maybe Faulkner has ruined me

It's an email. Its grammatical shortcomings simply reinforce that he was highly distraught and emotional when he sent it. He's still a git, because his actions are hardly professional, but I'm not yet prepared to make him an effigy of all that is wrong with American education.

@Ted: So promulgating stereotypes does meet the criteria of "manners, politeness, consideration"? Nice. I take it then, by implication, that "innit" falls into the category of correct and proper English? Lovely.

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Anonymous Coward

"Director gets email wrong"

Big news we have today. Are you sure that all this is not part of the missing campaign he complains about?

At least will promote the movie among the massive Reg readership. Not a bad way of having a few impressions for nothing.

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Spoken, Not Stirred

He must be using a dictation. Try reading what he "wrote" out loud - it makes perfect sense as spoken American English. Not that this is an excuse for what is, after all, attrocious grammar in a written missive, mind you: merely an explanation.

Whether spoken American English has anything to do with grammar (or the butchering thereof) is another matter entirely...

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FAIL

To the grammar pedants...

...get a life, really.......

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Headmaster

Re: To the grammar pedants…

You mean "… get a life, really…", and I'm using this as an excuse to use the icon which can only have been put there for me to use.

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Anonymous Coward

He's using a speech-to-text program

It looks like he used a speech-to-text program to write the e-mail. So "would have" sounds like "would of". And the punctuation is all wrong in the second sentence.

When you use such a program, you tend also tend to use spoken English instead of written English. You also tend to swear a lot because those programs still don't work well.

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Boffin

As the queen herself might say...

His bad!

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Terminator

This is a man who thinks CGI toys smacking the fuck out of one another

is a sufficiently strong premise upon which to base a movie: is anyone surprised that he can't write for shit? Anyway, that's what they have writers for in Hollywood, even though the vast majority of them can't write for shit either. Which is what they have script doctors for. And when that fails (and it does), there's Megan Fox to look at. *sigh*

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WTF?

eats shoots and leaves

Does it matter?

It certainly does.

It's nice that so many noticed and scary how many don't care.

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Bronze badge

it's email

How closely do El Reg's writers check every email for grammar and spelling before clicking Send?

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@ Si 1

"... as someone who grew up on the REAL Transformers that Bay's pretenders are nowhere near as good."

I know, right? They didn't even split in the middle and unleash and little robot from within!

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Headmaster

w00t!

Finally! My own avatar! I'm so happy! :-)

Anyway - this is a bloke who makes Hollywood movies based on dollies for boys - and we're surprised that he wouldn't know grammar from his arsehole? I doubt that the boys who play with those dollies or see the movies would know or care either.

Thank you, Polly Prissypants.

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FAIL

re who fucking cares ?

Me. When I get a job application with bad grammar or spelling, it suggests the author is lazy and/or stupid. I really would rather spend my time working with my team to produce good software without having a part time job as a remedial teacher.

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Headmaster

I for one...

... welcome our pedant overlords!

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FAIL

Reliance on spellcheck

"BWAA! You know wut he meenz, y complain?!"

Hah.

My favorite demonstration of why you shouldn't be an illiterate slob (besides looking like a lazy dumbass):

Eliminating the capitalization and punctuation from "Yesterday I had to help my uncle, Jack, off his horse." results in a -drastically- different meaning...

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Troll

@Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 24th June 2009 00:26 GMT

Should you not has use this there icon instead of the one you use?

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Headmaster

storm in a teacup...

.... and you should all have gotten over it by now

(sorry, couldn't resist)

As an ex-pat is amuses me no end when I come back to good old Blighty only to be totally stumped as I can't understand a word the person checking my passport says, nor for that matter can I watch East Enders with out the assistance of subtitles.

That said, while his movies are absolute tosh I'm glad to see that his passion for his art obviously makes him inarticulate with indignation

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Wait, what?

I don't take nearly as much issue with the grammar as I do with his accusations. That movie? Under-promoted? WHAT?

I can't watch TV without seeing a commercial for it (or even more irritatingly, a commercial for ANOTHER company or product that ties into it) - I can't travel in public without seeing billboards and cross-branding on stores with it.

I can't go to a movie without seeing the fecking preview. The reason nobody downloaded the trailer is because we've already seen the entire god damned thing (if not the entire movie) in other places.

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WTF?

All these new comment icons

And no ODFO for the esteemed Ms Bee?

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