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MLA Full: "Grammar School with Snooki." YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 24 July 2010,
MLA Inline: (vlogbrothers, 2010)
APA Full: vlogbrothers. (2010, July 24). Grammar School with Snooki [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (vlogbrothers, 2010)
Chicago Full: vlogbrothers, "Grammar School with Snooki.", July 24, 2010, YouTube, 03:36,
In which John discusses how bad grammar can lead to confusion. And threesomes.


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A Bunny
( - -)
((') (')
(Crowd: Guten Morgen, Hank, es ist Freitag!)

So as I've been walking around Munich, I keep seeing people with surfboards, and I'm like, listen, I'm not a geographer, but, where's the ocean?

*cuts to a guy surfing on some kind of river*

There's the ocean.

I'm coming to you today in a field of sunflowers because, well, because I can. Let's walk. So Hank, in your video on Wednesday, you discussed an encounter with Snooki, a reality television show star. I sort of knew who Snooki was, but I wasn't totally confident, so after I watched your video, I went to check her out on Twitter.

Hank, what I discovered troubled me. It's raining, let's go inside.

Now Hank, a lot of people say grammar and spelling aren't that important, and certainly their importance can be exaggerated, but the reason grammar and spelling exists is to make communicative experiences as clear and transparent as possible. So today, Hank, we're going to look at some recent Snooki tweets to see how poor grammar and spelling can lead to confusion...and threesomes.

Snooki tweets: "Everyone please stop having heart attacks when i miss an apostrophe or coma or period. Don't wanna pop a blood vessel in your eyeballs. :)"

Okay, first off, Snooki, I'm not the one that should be concerned when you miss a period. Secondly, I'm certainly sympathetic to the occasional apostrophe mistake, but I am deeply concerned when anyone missed a coma. I mean, Snooki, I realize that you are not a trained medical professional, but still, comas should be relatively easy to spot. The only excuse for missing a coma is being in a coma.

Another example. Snooki tweets: "I wish I didn't freeze up when I saw Marc Wahlberg at the MTV Movie Awards because he is SO banging. fml. Marc, come back! Lol!!"

Let me submit that Mark Wahlberg might be somewhat more inclined to believe that you are a big fan if you knew that he spelled his name with a "k." And now, Hank, let's move on to the equally troubling problem of poor grammar.

Now Hank, I'm going to look past the small stuff, like the fact that Snooki repeatedly refers to groups of men as "packs of gorillas," even though we all know that a group of gorillas is called a "troupe." I'm not even going to get into the strange and fascinatingly racist habit of calling her followers "Tweetos." But Hank, check this out:

Snooki tweets: "I like pink roses and long walks on the beach holding your hand with margaritas in the other this time of year."

Huh? Hank, this is a very difficult sentence to parse, but so far as I can tell, there are three possibilities. First possibility: Snooki has freakishly large hands that allow her to hold her boyfriend's hand with one hand and plural margaritas with the other hand. Possibility number two: Snooki has more than two hands, at least three, possibly many more, so that she has one hand with which to hold her boyfriend's hand, and then two or more hands with which to hold margaritas. And lastly and most disturbingly, possibility number three: given Snooki's hatred of apostrophes and capitalizations, it is possible that Snooki is imagining some kind of ménage à trois with her boyfriend and a woman named Margarita. As in, "This time of year, I like pink roses, long walks on the beach, and holding your hand - with Margarita's in the other."

Hank, this is why grammar is important, because without it we can't tell if Snooki is poly-amorously inclined or has a secret third hand! Now Hank, I want to emphasize that Snooki is not stupid. We all make spelling mistakes. I mean, you misspelled Snooki's name in your Wednesday video. And although it's my job not to, I make grammatical mistakes all the time.

But Snooki doesn't value language, and she doesn't care about the quality of discourse in our society. And I worry when we celebrate those people, instead of people who use language precisely and thoughtfully, that we end up with really crappy discourse, whether it's on the Jersey Shore or in Congress.

Hank, Munich is lovely. My punishment sounds...horrible, so thanks for that. Nerdfighters, please keep suggesting punishments for Hank in comments, I read them all. Hank, you'll find out your punishment on Wednesday, but I'll see you first on Monday. Best wishes!