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Celebrity Schadenfruede: Language Error Guilty Pleasures

Are you a language learner having a bad day after a failure, faux pas, or fumbled flirtation in a foreign tongue? Then this one's for you!

Like them, loathe them, obsess over them: celebrities do have their uses. Even, in this case, just to help make you feel better about yourself when you've made yourself look like a language fool. Because celebrities, dear, sweet summer children that they are, just because they can speak to the masses doesn't necessarily mean that they should.

Not if these examples of truly epic language fails on Twitter are anything to go by, anyway. So sit back, relax, and bask in the beauty that is seeing someone else stumble and fall over their words.

Jamie Oliver

Mr Oliver gets a lot of nastiness for being earnestly enthusiastic about getting decent food into UK (and American) schools, among other things. We're not really sure why, but what we'd like to pick fault with, is this beauty of a tweet that screams at our inner teacher to reach out with a red pen and correct, correct, correct. We have the spelling mistake(s), the non-capitalisation of UK, the homophone wobble of waist, and the incorrect spelling of the pluralised form of country. And that's without even looking at the punctuation. We love your cooking, Jamie, but we'd love to give you a dictionary. Or a grammar lesson, perhaps.

Samuel L Jackson

Please do not mistake our, um, commenting, for not loving Mr. Jackson as much as we actually do. Because we do, very much. But even he, who is the only exception to the rule when it comes to so many things **cough... Mace Windu...** **cough cough... purple lightsabers** cannot invent entirely new words without someone (us) getting a little bit snippy about it.

Image via YouTube / Youtube

Mary J Blige

Oh, Mary. You are a wonderful singer, and we love listening to you generally, but this faux pas resonates with us like no other; we too have tried to show our, um, quality, and ended up falling flat on our faces. Thank you for sharing, we feel so much better now!

Bruno Mars

Bruno, Bruno, Bruno. As excited as we are about your new smoothie, um, invention. We're glad you're an entertainer bringing us things like Uptown Funk instead of our language professor teaching us grammar, if we're honest. This tweet has everything we don't want. Except the bananas and the strawberries. Maybe we want them.

Snoop Dog

As language experts, we'd like to think we're pretty good at interpreting what people really mean from what people really write. But pretty much every single one of Snoop Dog's tweets leaves us feeling flummoxed, lost, and out of our depth. Help?

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Charlie Sheen


Now, this tweet turmoil isn't actually all on Mr Sheen himself, although we're really not sure why you'd ever put an apostrophe in says: say is neither something that you possess, nor can it be contracted with is. However. @Djc2x makes the common homophone fail with your and you're in the very same sentence: grammar crimes have been committed all over this tweet!


Firstly, let us get past what you've done to your name. Because it gets our punctuation peckers up, and in no good way, we might add. But then you come into our house country, you drink our water (...get rained on...), and you can't even capitalise our capital city? All whilst reminding us how horrible our weather is, and doing something terrible to the already-terrible word that is gonna? Shame on you, sir, just... shame on you.

Image via Wikimedia / Wikimedia



Whilst we appreciate your attempts to censor yourself here, we can't overlook your is rather than are, the lack of punctuation, and... many other things. But we do love you, honest.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Proving it's not all about English, let's take a look at Mr Gyllenhaal doing terrible things to the Spanish language. And possibly its cuisine as well. There's more to Spanish than the occasional , Jake, much more.

Let's be nice...

We're going to take a pause from picking fault with people's language skills to say how amazing some of our celebrity polyglots are. We've already mentioned the likes of Natalie Portman and Viggo Mortensen in a previous article, but what about Manu Chao, Tablo and Nico & Vinz, for introducing us to music in many a new tongue? It's better to try another language and make a mistake, than not try at all, after all, is it not?

And now that we've started being kinder, maybe we're on to something. Maybe we can extend this pause from rubbing our hands together in wicked glee at other people's mistakes, and pointing out that sometimes, these mistakes are just little slips of the finger.

We say this mainly because hey, we're human too, and no matter how Eye Of Mordor-like our editor is, sometimes these things really do just slip through. What we're saying, we think, is do as we say (as in, mistakes are fine), not as we do (indulge in occasional celebrity mocking).

Just one more thing...

And also, what constitutes a language 'mistake' anyway? Could we not just be having a little fun with our verbing? As an example, are you more likely to say 'hold on, I will just look that up in my prefered search engine' or 'I'll Google it'?*

*other search engines are available.

And you. Yes you, staring at your screen in disbelief at what we're doing to the noble English language and pondering the possibility that this might be the perfect opportunity to leave a comment with a cheeky little SMH; even you. Surely you have used the term adulting to express the feeling you get from having to do all those dull things involved with adulthood when really you'd prefer to be doing the fun stuff instead? Taxes over tequila? Dusting over dirty dancing? Colonic irrigation over chronic (but well-earned) hangover? We're on to you...

Image via Flickr / Flickr

We started out this article being mean and a little bit critical of those we usually hold in better esteem, but we've ended up feeling chastised, humbled, and altogether a little bit nicer. Let's all have a big collective group hug, and make peace with the things we cannot change about ourselves (and our celebrities). We hope you're feeling pretty nice yourselves.