Infuriating fan sign: ‘Lacks got our back’

The most infuriating thing about the Canucks’ 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on New Year’s Day? No, it wasn’t their sloppy hockey. It wasn’t the two goals they surrendered in just 20 seconds, allowing Tampa to turn a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead. It wasn’t even the goal the Canucks allowed with just three seconds to go in the second period, which effectively took the chunk out of their peanut butter heading into the third.

It was the fan sign you see above. LACKS GOT OUR BACK, it reads. Get. It. Out of here.

We like fan signs here at Pass it to Bulis. (Why, here’s a photo of Daniel and me sporting signs we brought to a Canucks game back when we were still a couple young snappers of whippers.) But once in a while, I see a sign that gets my goat like the chupacabra. TWINS ARE GROSS is still one of the most baffling signs I’ve seen at a Canucks game. And EDLER GET IN MY BED-LER still weirds me out.

This one’s troublesome for me too.

First of all, unless Lack has recently been given some sort of exemption from the possessive apostrophe, like its or Tim Hortons, it should be Lack’s. As is “Lack has”. This is a sign about a person, not a collection of absences, that has our backs. Lacks do not have our backs, for they are but several unmet needs, and cannot be relied upon.

But you’ll note that the sign doesn’t even say “our backs”. It says “our back”, like all Canucks fans share a back. We do not. We are several individuals, from all walks of life, with individual backs. The attributive adjective “our” suggests multiple backs. The singular noun that follows is, thus, incongruous.

What upsets me most about this is that “LACK’S GOT OUR BACKS” isn’t just a grammatical improvement — it also rhymes better. This sign is so close. And yet so far. This sign does not have my back.

Look at the guy holding the sign. He’s a grown man. Bro, do you even sign? Step your game up.

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22 comments

  1. steveB
    January 3, 2014

    a potentially even more infuriating Jersey Foul:
    http://i.imgur.com/pdIFOBl.jpg

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    • Nihil
      January 3, 2014

      Oh, come on. That’s hilarious.

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  2. DanD
    January 3, 2014

    There is certainly enough room on that sign for an apostrophe. Come on!

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  3. Brian
    January 3, 2014

    But, then, you typed:

    “with individuals backs.”

    And, now, I have just replied to a grammar-nitpicking article with a grammar-nitpicking comment. And, I’ve just started two sentences with “and.”

    I’m afraid I may have inadvertently endangered the space-time continuum.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 3, 2014

      Fixed and I hate you.

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  4. Noodle
    January 3, 2014

    THIS IS AN OUTRAGE

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  5. Kat Bowen
    January 3, 2014

    The final sentence of this article ends with a preposition. The correct syntax is “Step up your game.” Additionally, the punctuation falls within the quotation marks, with the exception of colons and semi-colons.

    Is nothing sacred anymore? Next you’ll be splitting infinitives like the Sedins split regular season points.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 3, 2014

      Nice try, Kat, but “step your game up” is a colloquialism, so I can end on it. Plus the matter of ending sentences with prepositions is much more fluid now than it used to be. It’s not longer a hard rule.

      And as for where punctuation goes in relation to quotation marks, that’s a matter of US or UK convention, and I tend to employ UK style, where the punctuation falls outside the marks.

      BOOM. ROASTED.

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      • Neil B
        January 4, 2014

        Actually, the rule concerning split infinitives was imported from Latin, where it actually matters, and jammed into English, where it doesn’t matter, in an attempt to prove that an upper-class education did, in fact, make one a superior being. Which is, as Winston Churchill observed, “something up with which we shall not put”.

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    • dontpassjustshoot
      January 4, 2014

      It has always been perfectly correct to end a sentence with a preposition in English. There are grammar books that say it’s incorrect to do so, but that simply doesn’t change how English has always been spoken.

      The “don’t split infinitives” rule is a different thing entirely from the ending sentences with a preposition, Neil. Splitting the infinitive is when you write “to boldly go” as opposed to “to go boldly”. (People say it was imported from Latin; it wasn’t, because it was never a rule in Latin. Infinitives are single words in Latin, and there’s no way to split them. A pompous git writing an English grammar treatise long ago reasoned that since it can’t happen in Latin, it also shouldn’t happen in English.)

      Both rules are non-rules in that you can write clearer, more natural English when you blithely ignore both.

      Mooney is right about the punctuation marks falling outside quotation marks – but is it not longer a hard rule, or no longer? Off your game today, Mooney. And you still write better than I do.

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  6. Wendy
    January 3, 2014

    I would like to take a moment to point out the second sentence of your third paragraph… the correct phrasing is “Daniel and me”, as you are the objects of the aforementioned sentence, not the subjects. You wouldn’t refer to a “photo of I”, would you? I am shocked that you, who purport to be a writer, would publish this poor specimen of the art. Humph.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 3, 2014

      I hate you all so much.

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      • rob
        January 4, 2014

        But you still get kudos for not writing ‘me and Daniel…’ which is becoming (arrghh!) ubiquitous.

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  7. tj
    January 3, 2014

    It’s a nervy road to walk, that Righteous Grammarian Avenue. Inevitably, autocorrect-karma and human fallibility come into play…

    (By the by, what bugs me more about this sign is how it signifies the many Nux fans ready to jump on the Lack bandwagon, and wave nonchalantly to Lu as they pass… Had Lu been in goal during the last Canucks meltdown half of Canucks Nation would be comparing him to Shneids and grumbling how he ‘always does this.’ Lack gets a special pass, and so does the D it seems, when Lack’s in goal Although, I agree, it would take an especially nasty sort of Gru to not adore muppet-headed Lack…)

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  8. Doop
    January 3, 2014

    My back is part of a collective skin shelf, forty miles wide. That is the back to which the sign refers, I think.

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  9. Char
    January 3, 2014

    Were you bored today?

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  10. Snepsts
    January 3, 2014

    Well if we’re getting snotty, splitting infinitives and ending sentences with a preposition are not grammatical errors. They are just dull elements of style that have been repeated ad nauseam over the last couple centuries. To quote the esteemed H.W. Fowler, “It is a cherished superstition that prepositions must…be kept true to their name and placed before the word they govern.” He then goes on to write two pages on the subject. On splitting infinitives, Fowler merely divides the English speaking world into those who hate it, those who do it, and those who don’t care, and refuses to choose sides – but also acknowledges it is a question of style and clarity – not grammar.

    And it is not grammatically incorrect to start a sentence with a conjunction…! I loathe all the grammar fascists that do not seem to understand what grammar actually is.

    I had a British professor that used to spout nonsense like this and I actually went out and bought him a cheap Wordsworth copy of Fowler’s Modern English Usage. I love it, and I thank the author of this post for reminding me that it exists.

    But I could also point out, to really be annoying, what are we arguing for? Hahahaha

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  11. Ratatat
    January 4, 2014

    Harrison !
    Look what you started ! I thought the two whipper-snappers in the old Nucks togs were nerdy, but this set of responses, THIS !! is nerdy.

    Reminds me why I FLED English classes after a few years at UBC. Ugh. Cue the Forrest Gump quote: “I’m not a smart man …”

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  12. RobTheHockeyGuy
    January 4, 2014

    I support this article 100%. Figure it out guy!

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  13. Sean
    January 4, 2014

    You’re the only hockey blog that points out and picks on poor grammar. I love you.

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  14. Michael
    January 5, 2014

    Dear Harrison and everyone in this thread,

    I apologize for stealing your lunch money in elementary school. I was acting out in an effort to compensate for my potty-poor grammar. I was wrong.

    Sincerely,

    Oafy Magoonerson

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  15. TDAS
    January 6, 2014

    PITB = GOOD AT BLOG

    Also, shout out to the commenter with the Victoria Salsa avatar

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