How a Z Can Make You Look like a Moron


I tend to be a grammar conservative. I worship the Oxford comma. I will bend over backwards to properly use a semicolon; I believe that semicolons, when used properly, are genius. I think that anyone who overuses the word ‘pervasive’ should be throttled with a leather-bound edition of the Complete Works of Shakespeare. If necessary, I will lend you mine.

I think that rules are rules and some are meant to be broken. I also believe that you must KNOW which rule you are breaking, before smashing it with a misplaced COMMA – especially where creative writing is concerned.

I am appallingly unskilled at writing in meter. Iambic pentameter is gorgeous, but I tend to bastardize it and fall out of proper adherence at an alarming rate. I refuse to text, IM, or email in shorthand. I think it is ridiculous and lazy, and it’s even worse when “professionals” adopt the practice.

So, it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that I’d like to strike unnecessary Zs from common practice. Its presence evokes laziness, rappers (Jay-z, I’m looking at you), and a desperate NEED to seem cool. Except anyone who does this isn’t cool, will never be cool, and I cannot take you seriously. Worse yet, I cannot take your business seriously.

This morning, I was writing emails to various places when I came across a business name that looked something like this: [XYZ] Business Solutionz.

SOLUTIONZ? Congratulations, you’ve sent me into a rage before nine a.m. You have also guaranteed that I will never consider your company, ever. Why? Well, it looks like either you cannot spell properly or you don’t give an unholy flying frak of a damn about ACTUALLY spelling correctly. Neither of these things inspires confidence.

Imagine, for a moment, if some very popular things had adopted such a UNIQUE spelling:

  • Beatlez
  • Zhazpeare
  • Edward Zcizzorhandz
  • Ztanford Univerzity

In case it isn’t clear to the masses who are drinking the grammatically horrific kool-aid, Z and S? They are two different letters! That’s why the alphabet includes BOTH of them. Sure, Z is kind of underused, but that doesn’t mean it should be wielded with impunity whenever the urge strikes you.

Consider, if you would, if we did this with other letters. Q, for instance. Randomly, we will now substitute Qs for Rs. BEHOLD:

  • Qegional Distqict Manageq
  • Mediabistqo
  • Editoqial
  • Pqinceton Univeqsity

The English language would be unrecognizable. How in the seven hells would you even pronounce that crap? Hint: You wouldn’t. The world would fall into incomprehensible CHAOS, ensuring insanity befitting Lord of the Flies. PRAY that you are not Piggy, folks.

In all seriousness, though, this practice of shortening words to the bare bones, replacing letters, and using this in a professional setting – it’s a poor business strategy. If you do this, you are on par with the person who routinely comma splices EVERYTHING. Such practices fill me with unbridled annoyance, occasional rage-spasms, and make me seriously doubt your capabilities.

If you want to appear smart and knowledgeable, forget the shortcuts. Don’t try to be über-trendy. And for the love of coordinating conjunctions, do NOT attach a frakkin’ Z to the name of your business.

You are not Ke$ha. I hope.

  1. January 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Fo shizzle, Ali.
    Sorry. I couldn’t resist. 🙂

    • January 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Damn you, Proctor! *shakes fist* Hehe

  2. January 11, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    omg this is hilarious! xD

    “you are not kesha i hope”

    • January 14, 2012 at 8:53 am

      I’m glad that this made you laugh!! 🙂

  3. Susan
    January 14, 2012 at 12:48 am

    I’m waiting for Zhazpeare’s next album to drop.

    (That was my favorite, but Zcizzorhandz was pretty good too.)

    • January 14, 2012 at 8:52 am

      *grin* I’m glad that you enjoyed this! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  4. January 18, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Hi Ali.
    I love this article, but at the risk of pissing you off and setting you to ranting before, at or after 9AM, I’d just like to point out that in English, bastardize is actually bastardise.
    That thar z be American, not English.

    • January 19, 2012 at 8:30 am

      Hi, Harry~

      No worries, and welcome to the blog! I suppose I should’ve clarified that I am American, and I was speaking from that viewpoint. I realize that a great deal of people (British, for instance) tend more toward the King’s English. I don’t. Plus, my spellcheck doesn’t recognize bastardise as a word (not that spellcheck is infallible, by any means). Regardless, thank you very much for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it!

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