Writing Wrongs: 10 Movie Titles with Bad Grammar

A list of films that could have used a different kind of editor

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For all the considerable resources that go into marketing Hollywood movies, it would seem that scant attention is paid to checking the grammar and punctuation of film titles. Case in point, the new Star Trek, whose title omits a punctuation mark that not-so-subtly changes the meaning of the words. TIME copy chief Danial Adkison and copy editor Douglas Watson offer their professional judgment on some other suspect movie titles.



Image: Star Trek Poster

Paramount Pictures

Star Trek Into Darkness

“The movie in which a celebrity goes on a long hike in the middle of the night.”

Suggested fix: A colon

Star Trek: Into Darkness



Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

“Is it really O.K. to ask a question and not put a question mark at the end.”

Suggested fix: A question mark

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?



Law Abiding Citizen

Overture Films

Law Abiding Citizen

“Some citizens the law can abide; others it cannot stand.”

Suggested fix: A hyphen

LawAbiding Citizen




Honey I Shrunk The Kids

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

“This is not the movie you thunk it was.”

Suggested fix: Remember past participles?

Honey, I’ve Shrunk the Kids



Two Weeks NoticeWarner Bros.

Two Weeks Notice

Two weeks notice what? Can a week (or two) really notice anything?”

Suggested fix: An apostrophe

Two Weeks Notice



The 40 Year Old Virgin

Universal Pictures

The 40 Year-Old Virgin

“At first glance an “s” appears to be missing: The 40 Year-Old Virgins. But that can’t be. Who would make a movie about 1-year-olds? And in what kind of world would it need to be specified that these 1-year-olds are virgins?!”

Suggested fix: A hyphen

The 40Year-Old Virgin



The Ladies Man

Paramount Pictures

The Ladies Man

“The apostrophe is needed to make clear that although this man may think he possesses the ladies, in fact they possess him.”

Suggested fix: An apostrophe

The LadiesMan



An Alan Smithee Film Burn Hollywood Burn

Hollywood Pictures

An Alan Smithee Film Burn Hollywood Burn

“Sometimes it really helps to use punctuation otherwise no one can tell where one thought ends and the next one begins it’s such a nice day today I think I’ll go read a modernist novel or something oh look there goes a seagull.”

Suggested fix: A colon and some commas

An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn



My Big Fat Greek Wedding

IFC Films

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

“Without the comma, we can’t tell if it’s a wedding that’s larger than life or a ceremony of Hellenic sumo wrestlers.”

Suggested fix: A comma

My Big, Fat Greek Wedding



Eight Legged Freaks

Warner Bros.

Eight Legged Freaks

“A movie about eight freaks who have legs? Is that what makes them freaks? Don’t a lot of people have legs?”

Suggested fix: A hyphen

EightLegged Freaks

105 comments
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AzizKhatri1
AzizKhatri1

Titular questions shouldn't require a question mark any more than non-question titles require a period or exclamation point. (See: Burn, Hollywood, Burn!)  Rhetorical questions don't  require question marks, either. Considering Roger was never 'killed' that could be a rhetorical question. biking vietnam

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whitehatseo1
whitehatseo1

American public would be put off by correct punctuation. I was disappointed to find that the novel was republished after the release of the movie with the commas removed from the title http://diabetesdestroyer.xyz

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whitehatseo1

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whitehatseo1
whitehatseo1

(See: Burn, Hollywood, Burn!)  Rhetorical questions don't  require question marks, either. Considering Roger was never 'killed' that could be a rhetorical question. http://allmusichq.com/

TimLane1
TimLane1

Titular questions shouldn't require a question mark any more than non-question titles require a period or exclamation point. (See: Burn, Hollywood, Burn!)  Rhetorical questions don't  require question marks, either. Considering Roger was never 'killed' that could be a rhetorical question.

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whitehatseo1
whitehatseo1

How about "Crazy, Stupid, Love" (why the comma between "stupid" and "love"?) and  "Gone Baby Gone"? Dennis Lehane's novel was originally published as "Gone, Baby, Gone," but apparently the makers or the distributors of the movie judged that the American public would be put off by correct punctuation. I was disappointed to find that the novel was republished after the release of the movie with the commas removed from the title. http://kostumku.co.id

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whitehatseo1
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It's my understanding that Who Framed Roger Rabbit doesn't have a question mark because the producers noticed that movies with question marks gross less.  Yes, it's stupid, I know.http://freemovie4k.com

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baldowl
baldowl

"The 40 Year Old Virgin" doesn't require any hyphens, because 40 year old is employed as an adjective.  The only time you would hyphenate that phrase is when it's being used as a noun:  "The 40-Year-Old."

BoyHunted
BoyHunted

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