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Grammar check: ‘siege’ is not a verb

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

On Wednesday, this reporter wrote about the new slogan being pushed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, “Siege the Day.” In that report I pointed out the slogan doesn’t exactly send a positive message to anyone with a remedial high school education or the ability to Google a definition.

Siege means “a prolonged period of misfortune” in some uses. And even under the more popular use of the word, referring to some form of occupation, it still doesn’t really make sense.

But I overlooked one very key problem with the play on “Seize the Day.” Siege is not a verb, it’s a noun. The Tampa Tribune’s education beat reporter, Erin Koukournis caught it, though. In a report posted the same day as my own, Koukournis lays out analysis from several Hillsborough County teachers looking at the issue.

“It’s a play on words,” Clair-Mel Elementary School reading resource teacher Keri Kozerski told the Tribune. She reportedly saw the slogan on a television commercial Wednesday morning. “I understand it, but it’s not a verb and it doesn’t make sense. They may want to rethink that and use a verb.”

The most common use of the word “siege” is to lay siege where “lay” is the verb and “siege” is the noun.

The Bucs’ chief marketing officer, Brian Killingsworth, explained the marketing strategy to The Tampa Tribune.

“Siege is the Bucs way to seize the day,” he said, noting the use of the word as pirate lingo. He added it creates a “call of action and to sound more aggressive in how we take the day.”

Note there is a bit of a grammatical error in Killingsworth’s quote. Notice that missing apostrophe in “Bucs”? Now, that could have been a typo by the person writing the quote down, which would be especially true if his comments were delivered in person. However, most press inquiries of this nature are handled via email, which leaves this writer with the impression that it was not Koukournis’ blunder.

Plus, it’s not the first time there’s been grammatical errors in Buccaneer propaganda. Remember “It’s a Bucs Life?” The “life” in this quip belongs to the Bucs. Thus, another missing apostrophe

But, as the Tribune piece points out, advertisers aren’t always too concerned with grammar.

“You have to keep in mind that advertising is the venue that brought you doughnuts spelled d-o-n-u-t-s, drive-through spelled t-h-r-u,” Sam Bradley, director of the Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications at the University of South Florida told The Tampa Tribune. “Advertising is about clever, memorable communication. Nobody wrote that intending it to be grammatically correct.”

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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