Trump's many attacks on the English language


Donald Trump has been something of an equal-opportunity offender during this election cycle, with controversial statements made about entire groups of people – Mexicans, women, Muslims. And while doing so, he’s also offended a sector that crosses lines of gender, ethnicity and race: those who support proper usage of the English language.

Though Trump may not be a “polished politician,” as noted by running mate Mike Pence during the vice presidential debate, he is a longtime English speaker. And yet the gaffes are many. While we have grown more accustomed to his somewhat rambling oratory style, the errors stick in our brains. Across stump speeches and debates, social media and interviews, our mental red pens are uncapped and heavily used.

Here, some of the most cringeworthy examples of Trump mangling his native language.

During a discussion about jobs and the economy at the Hofstra debate, Trump made pronouns turn to drink. The candidate flipped and flopped the poor guys, first calling the administration a "their (instead of an it) and then randomly pulling a "he" into the mix.

Trump said that the "Obama administration, from the time they've come in, is over 230 years' worth of debt, and he's topped it."

Thankfully, the Schoolhouse Rock on prounouns -- "you see a pronoun was made to take the place of a noun, 'cos saying all those names over and over can really wear you down" -- lives on in perpetuity. (Credit: AFP /Getty Images / Jason Connolly)

Commenting on the DNC email hack during the first presidential debate, Trump said that the culprit "could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?"

To which comedian Kathy Griffin rightly tweeted in response, "When asked re hacking our gov, #drumpf guesses 'somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds' Why hate on 400lb beds? #debatenight."

And it's true: Trump's sentence structure slams a bed weighing 400 pounds, not a person, as intended. (Secondary offense: Somebody is a singular noun, and he paired it with a plural pronoun.) What Trump might have said: "It also could be somebody, who weighs 400 pounds, sitting on his or her bed." Though that's not offensive to beds, it's likely offensive to most people. A 400-pound bed, however, could be offensive on moving day.

(Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Tasos Katopodis)

It was the tweet heard 'round the internet. True, Trump has many of these, but a post made at the respectable time of 12:20 p.m. on July 24 included two malapropisms, and not for senior-level words: He wrote "there" instead of "their" and "waist" instead of "waste." And even Bernie Sanders was forced to be involved.

The full tweet: "Looks to me like the Bernie people will fight. If not, there blood, sweat and tears was a waist of time. Kaine stands for opposite!"

The tweet was deleted and reposted with the proper spelling, but not before screenshots were made and circulated. And commented on.

If you aren't already, please start following @TrumpGrammar. Immediately.

(Credit: Getty Images / Brian Blanco)

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During the second presidential debate, Trump said that he was "not unproud" of his middle-of-the-night tweets about Alicia Machado. Machado is the former Miss Venezuela and Miss Universe Hillary Clinton said he had called "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping."

While Merrian-Webster takes no issue with "unproud" -- not a common word, you can find it in the gigantic unabridged dictionary -- we can question Trump's use of a double negative. He's either proud, or he's unproud. "Not unproud" just makes the head not not hurt.

(Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Mandel Ngan)

Does Trump say "bigly" or "big league"? Whichever it is, it's one of his favorite words/phrases for emphasis. It's no "huge," but it's close.

He's used it in plenty of interviews and speeches, as well as during the presidential debates. Rewind your DVR as much as you like; it's tough to discern. If the collective mass that is Twitter has a say, #bigly is indeed what Trump has said. Hope Hicks, Trump's campaign spokeswoman, told Slate that Trump indeed says "big league." Either way, "bigly" is an accepted adverb, if not a commonly used one. And if we are to accept "big league" into our hearts and ears, his line about taxes during debate No. 1 doesn't quite make sense.

"I'm going to cut regulations. I'm going to cut taxes big league, and you're going to raise taxes big league, end of story," Trump said before Lester Holt interrupted him for straying off topic. During the second debate, Trump echoed the sentiment, just adding that the "big league" cuts would help the middle class.

(Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Jason Connolly)

Trump has repeatedly stated his distain for the New York Times, but, in early August, he told Sean Hannity that the paper's political reporters "don't write good."

In fairness, he likely intended good to mean "good things," but he also said "no matter how good I do," instead of well, during the interview.

The quote: "No matter how good I do on something, they'll never write good. I mean, they don't write good. They have people over there, like Maggie Haberman, and others, they don't write good. They don't know how to write good."

(Credit: Getty Images / Sara D. Davis)

Cooper brought up the subject of Trump's taxes at the second debate, but the reply called more attention to loopholes in time than ones in the tax code.

Cooper: "Did you use that $960 million loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes?"

Trump: "Of course I do. Of course I do."

(Credit: Getty Images / Kena Betancur)

 

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