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Old Dec 15, 2012, 07:58 PM   #1
SomeDudeAsking
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Lightbulb Anyone Else Notice the Poor Grammar in Apple Writing/Ads for Their iDevices?

So I'm browsing the Apple website from a link in another thread on here. I'm looking at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3226 where it is talking about how to clean Apple products.

If we look at the section for the iPhones:

Quote:
Clean iPhone immediately if it comes into contact with any contaminants that may cause stains, such as ink, dyes, makeup, dirt, food, oils, and lotions. To clean iPhone, unplug all cables and turn off iPhone (press and hold the Sleep/Wake button, and then slide the onscreen slider).
Now, if we compare that to the section for the iPads:

Quote:
Handle your iPad with care to maintain its appearance. If you are concerned about scratching or abrasion, you can use one of the many cases sold separately. To clean iPad, unplug all cables and turn off iPad (press and hold the Sleep/Wake button, and then slide the onscreen slider).
And then also look at the section for iMacs:

Quote:
To clean the display on your iMac, first shut down your iMac and unplug the power cord along with other connected devices. Next, dampen the cloth that came with your iMac—or another clean, soft, lint-free cloth—with water only, and then wipe the screen. Do not spray liquid directly on the screen.
Notice that Apple butchers the grammar in the section for the iDevices where it inconsistently references iPhone without a "the" or "your" before it. In the iMac section, a reference to an iMac is preceded by "your" and is grammatically correct.

For example, from above, the iPhone section uses "Clean iPhone immediately if it comes into contact" when it should actually say "Clean your iPhone immediately if it comes into contact". And also, where it says "To clean iPhone, unplug all cables", it should actually say "To clean your iPhone, unplug all cables".

The iPad section is mixed. In the first sentence, it correctly uses "Handle your iPad with care" but then in the next sentence it incorrectly goes "To clean iPad, unplug all cables" when it should say "To clean your iPad, unplug all cables". There are numerous mistakes like this throughout Apple's website.

This butchering of grammar also happens in Apple ads, such as at the main page for the iPhone at http://www.apple.com/ca/iphone/. Every time I hear or see something from Apple that forget adjectives, it drives me crazy because it is so obvious that they don't use correct English. It makes me think their writers are not literate. It is not "The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone." That is so plain grammatically incorrect, you would have failed English school. It should actually say "The biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone."

Doesn't anyone at Apple grammar check?
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:03 PM   #2
Megalobyte
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It may be they're trying to personify the iPhone, iPad etc. by calling it iphone, ipad, as if by name. Though I guess the inconsistent treatment would still be a mistake.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:07 PM   #3
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I see nothing wrong. For example, when talking about Ukraine, people will say, "People of the Ukraine", when the correct way is "People of Ukraine".
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:09 PM   #4
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I highly doubt that it is poor grammar by accident. It sounds like specific marketing speak that is purposefully consistent.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:11 PM   #5
SomeDudeAsking
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Megalobyte View Post
It may be they're trying to personify the iPhone, iPad etc. by calling it iphone, ipad, as if by name. Though I guess the inconsistent treatment would still be a mistake.
My working theory is that some guy from Foxconn in China that doesn't speak much English is doing the writing. I see grammar mistakes like this all the time on product packaging when I buy stuff on EBay that comes from China.

Quote:
Originally Posted by darster View Post
I see nothing wrong. For example, when talking about Ukraine, people will say, "People of the Ukraine", when the correct way is "People of Ukraine".
That's totally different from what's going on here. There is only one Ukraine, there are millions of iPhones.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by zhenya View Post
I highly doubt that it is poor grammar by accident. It sounds like specific marketing speak that is purposefully consistent.
So purposefully inconsistent that it doesn't even match up with the writing for the iMac? Or that it even changes mid paragraph?
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:14 PM   #6
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Why place "your" in front of iPhone? The process to clean the iPhone is the same, whether it is yours or not.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:17 PM   #7
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I'm a stickler for grammar and spelling, but I see nothing wrong with this. The iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) are much more of an entity, for lack of a better word, than the Macintosh line.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:19 PM   #8
Michael CM1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zhenya View Post
I highly doubt that it is poor grammar by accident. It sounds like specific marketing speak that is purposefully consistent.
That was my guess. I get more pet peeved over people on boards and such misusing your/you're, it's/its and lose/loose. At least it's consistent throughout by device.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael CM1 View Post
That was my guess. I get more pet peeved over people on boards and such misusing your/you're, it's/its and lose/loose. At least it's consistent throughout by device.
It's not even consistent by device. Look at my original post and read the section for the iPad. Apple changes adjective usage mid paragraph.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:25 PM   #10
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I always clean iPhone with power on.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:29 PM   #11
SomeDudeAsking
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duneriderltr450 View Post
I always clean iPhone with power on.
See, this is what I would expect from someone that speaks Engrish or from Froto looking for his "precious". It clearly needs an adjective before "iPhone".

Quote:
Originally Posted by darster View Post
Why place "your" in front of iPhone? The process to clean the iPhone is the same, whether it is yours or not.
You can use "your" or "the" before referencing "iPhone" in the instructions. The problem is that Apple is not consistent and leaves out the adjectives at random and this makes their sentences look like poor English.

Last edited by SomeDudeAsking; Dec 15, 2012 at 08:41 PM.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zhenya View Post
I highly doubt that it is poor grammar by accident. It sounds like specific marketing speak that is purposefully consistent.
Yeah it is written to a target audience, or so it would appear.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:55 PM   #13
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Does the phrase "Windows is shutting down" also bug you?

And those quotes from the knowledge base aren't marketing.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:57 PM   #14
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They probably hired someone in China to be their website editor. Cheaper that way.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 09:00 PM   #15
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I always thought referring to the iPhone and the iPad as "Clean iPad" or "With iPhone you can do this" was deliberate.

I could have sworn that when Apple execs were talking about iDevices in WWDC conferences they usually say "When we released iPad" or "Now, iPhone is even better" etc.

Unless I'm mistaken
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 09:06 PM   #16
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By calling the iPhone just iphone, and the ipad just ipad, it adds something in branding, it puts them out there more like icons, rather than just one of many smartphones or devices.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 09:09 PM   #17
SomeDudeAsking
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comeagain? View Post
Does the phrase "Windows is shutting down" also bug you?

And those quotes from the knowledge base aren't marketing.
That is a different usage. "Windows is shutting down" is what Windows directly says to me and is correct. The docs and marketing material in my OP is a third person referencing an inanimate object (ie: an iPhone). Therefore, the material they wrote should have adjectives.

Apple's knowledge base can be considered half marketing.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 09:33 PM   #18
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 10:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeDudeAsking View Post
See, this is what I would expect from someone that speaks Engrish or from Froto looking for his "precious". It clearly needs an adjective before "iPhone".



You can use "your" or "the" before referencing "iPhone" in the instructions. The problem is that Apple is not consistent and leaves out the adjectives at random and this makes their sentences look like poor English.
Okay just for the record it's "Frodo," and you're thinking of Gollum looking for his precious. But also, get over it. Your question was "does anyone else notice this?" and you got your answer. Yes, people noticed it, and no one cares. It's obviously intentional whether you like it or not.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 10:06 PM   #20
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This has nothing to do with grammar.

Saying "Clean iPhone immediately" is no different from saying "Reinstall iTunes to fix the problem". By your logic, saying "Reinstall iTunes" would be incorrect, and we'd have to refer to something like "your copy of iTunes".

It's an intentional decision to make it seem personal, almost like a friend, not poor copy or bad English. (Whether this is effective or silly is another matter.) They've been using this since the day the iPhone was announced. And they used it for years with other products before that.

iPod (2005):


iBook (2004):
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 10:09 PM   #21
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I have a noticed a sharp increase in grammatical errors all over the place. I have seen these mistakes mostly in news articles on drudge, CNN, Foxnews, etc. I'm not sure why this is happening. Perhaps journalism schools are lowering their standard, maybe newspapers and news organizations can't afford costly editing time due to decreased revenue. Who knows?
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 10:13 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pooleman View Post
I have a noticed a sharp increase in grammatical errors all over the place. I have seen these mistakes mostly in news articles on drudge, CNN, Foxnews, etc. I'm not sure why this is happening. Perhaps journalism schools are lowering their standard, maybe newspapers and news organizations can't afford costly editing time due to decreased revenue. Who knows?
Heh. I've noticed the same. The NY Times even has a blog dedicated to grammar and usage errors found in their articles: http://afterdeadline.blogs.nytimes.com
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 10:30 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeDudeAsking View Post
See, this is what I would expect from someone that speaks Engrish or from Froto looking for his "precious". It clearly needs an adjective before "iPhone".
Adjective is not the word you're looking for. Don't mock someone's grammar if you won't even try to properly correct it. Also, there is nothing wrong with the quotes you presented. It's just marketing speak. Watch the iPhone commercials, they do the same thing and drop articles to make it sound like iOS products are sentient beings.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 10:32 PM   #24
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To look at this in Star Trek terms (because why wouldn't you?) I would say this is most analogous to the difference between the USS Enterprise and the USS Voyager.

The Enterprise was treated as a common noun while Voyager got proper noun status. For example, this is how you'd talk in an episode of the show:

"Tomorrow the Enterprise will transfer 25 officers to Voyager."

But you would NOT say:

"Tomorrow Enterprise will transfer 25 officers to the Voyager."

Why the difference? Well, it just sounds better. Is one of these wrong? No, they're both ok, it's just we're used to it one way. But if the writers wanted to switch it around, you could still say that they're right.

So Apple has decided Macs are common nouns and iOS devices are proper nouns. Just like with Star Trek writers it's their right to do that. It's not wrong. (Or do you argue that saying "Let's get back to Voyager" is incorrect?)

You're right that you found a mistake in the iPad section, but one mistake is hardly worth starting a whole thread over.

I reject your notion that iOS devices can't be proper nouns. Voyager was, so why not iPhone?
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 10:35 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TuffLuffJimmy View Post
Adjective is not the word you're looking for. Don't mock someone's grammar if you won't even try to properly correct it. Also, there is nothing wrong with the quotes you presented. It's just marketing speak. Watch the iPhone commercials, they do the same thing and drop articles to make it sound like iOS products are sentient beings.
You, sir, need an English lesson:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/your
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/my

Words like "my" and "your" are called adjectives.
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