(Yes, I know, it should be “smashes,” but the title is a comic book tribute.)
My fiance and I enjoy superhero movies, so we went to see The Incredible Hulk on the big screen. I recommend the movie — it captivated my attention. However, a repeated grammar error kept pulling me out of the movie. In academic terms, I experienced “communication noise” because it interfered with what I wanted to hear (in this case, what Bruce Banner was saying).
I wanted to follow what was happening in the lab scene, but all I could think was, “Data is? Data is? I can’t believe the scientist keeps saying ‘data is.'”
“Data,” like “media,” is a plural word. The error tore me out of the movie, and it took serious mental effort to shut down my inner dialog.
It’s funny too because I think back to teaching “data are” in my Public Relations Writing class at Maryland, and my students would jovially tease me about this finer point and playfully challenge me to come up with a sentence in which I would use a verb after the word “data.” Well, here it is on the big screen!
Sneak peak: Next week (not next post because I actually have two more Hulk public relations topics), I’ll tell you about the punctuation challenge I took on with my Advanced Public Relations Writing class here in Oregon. It involves Wham!, the band.
Readers, what examples of communication noise have you experienced? Here is another one that I experienced recently. I went to a restaurant, and the server, probably 10 years younger than I, called me “sweetie.” I heard nothing else she said.