85° Good Evening
85° Good Evening

Donald Trump's grammar, syntax errors: Times when the English language took a hit

Though President Donald Trump may not be a “polished politician,” as noted by running mate Mike Pence during the vice presidential debate, he is a longtime English speaker. And yet the gaffes, the offenses made to those who support proper use of the English language, are many.

While we have grown more accustomed to his often off-the-cuff oratory style, the errors stick in our brains. Across speeches and debates, social media and interviews, our mental red pens are uncapped and heavily used.

Here, some of the most cringeworthy examples of Trump mangling his native language.

Spelling lesson on 'tapp'

In a multi-tweet monologue positing that the Obama
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Win McNamee

In a multi-tweet monologue positing that the Obama administration unlawfully listened in on Trump Tower conversations, President Donald Trump correctly referred to wire tapping -- two ps, all good. But then there was this March 4 tweet:

"How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!"

A sic is also needed: Tap has just one p.

'Non-sense' and 'over-rated'

In multiple tweets, Trump has used hyphens to
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Saul Loeb

In multiple tweets, Trump has used hyphens to break up words that should either be two separate words or should be one word without a hyphen.

In one tweet on Feb. 15, he said, "This Russian connection non-sense (instead of nonsense) is merely an attempt to cover-up (should be cover up) the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign."

When he wanted to criticize Meryl Streep on Jan. 9, 2017, he called her "over-rated," instead of overrated.

And in a tweet about the judge who blocked his travel ban on Feb. 4, he said the decision "essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country."

An 'unpresidented act'

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

"China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters -- rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act," Trump tweeted on Dec. 17, 2016. The tweet was deleted, then reposted with the correctly spelled unprecedented.

They, the Obama administration

During a discussion about jobs and the economy
Photo Credit: AFP /Getty Images / Jason Connolly

During a discussion about jobs and the economy at the Hofstra presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump made pronouns turn to drink. The candidate flipped and flopped the poor guys, first calling the administration a "their (instead of an it) and then randomly pulling a "he" into the mix.

Trump said that the "Obama administration, from the time they've come in, is over 230 years' worth of debt, and he's topped it."

Thankfully, the Schoolhouse Rock on pronouns -- "you see a pronoun was made to take the place of a noun, 'cos saying all those names over and over can really wear you down" -- lives on in perpetuity.

‘Somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds’

Commenting on the DNC email hack during the
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Tasos Katopodis

Commenting on the DNC email hack during the first presidential debate, Trump said that the culprit "could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?"

To which comedian Kathy Griffin rightly tweeted in response, "When asked re hacking our gov, #drumpf guesses 'somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds' Why hate on 400lb beds? #debatenight."

And it's true: Trump's sentence structure slams a bed weighing 400 pounds, not a person, as intended. (Secondary offense: Somebody is a singular noun, and he paired it with a plural pronoun.) What Trump might have said: "It also could be somebody, who weighs 400 pounds, sitting on his or her bed." Though that's not offensive to beds, it's likely offensive to most people. A 400-pound bed, however, could be offensive on moving day.

‘There blood sweat and tears’

It was the tweet heard 'round the internet.
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Brian Blanco

It was the tweet heard 'round the internet. True, Trump has many of these, but a post made at the respectable time of 12:20 p.m. on July 24 included two malapropisms, and not for senior-level words: He wrote "there" instead of "their" and "waist" instead of "waste." And even Bernie Sanders was forced to be involved.

The full tweet: "Looks to me like the Bernie people will fight. If not, there blood, sweat and tears was a waist of time. Kaine stands for opposite!"

The tweet was deleted and reposted with the proper spelling, but not before screenshots were made and circulated. And commented on.

If you aren't already, please start following @TrumpGrammar. Immediately.

‘I’m not unproud’

During the second presidential debate, Trump said that
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Mandel Ngan

During the second presidential debate, Trump said that he was "not unproud" of his middle-of-the-night tweets about Alicia Machado. Machado is the former Miss Venezuela and Miss Universe Hillary Clinton said he had called "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping."

While Merriam-Webster takes no issue with "unproud" -- not a common word, you can find it in the gigantic unabridged dictionary -- we can question Trump's use of a double negative. He's either proud, or he's unproud. "Not unproud" just makes the head not not hurt.

'Her and Obama'

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

"She gave us ISIS. Because her and Obama created this huge vacuum and a small group came out of that huge vacuum," Trump said during the third presidential debate.

All we can confirm is that she, Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama have worked together. But who's this "her"?

'Bigly,' AKA 'big league'

Does Trump say
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Jason Connolly

Does Trump say "bigly" or "big league"? Whichever it is, it's one of his favorite words/phrases for emphasis. It's no "huge," but it's close.

He's used it in plenty of interviews and speeches, as well as during the presidential debates. Rewind your DVR as much as you like; it's tough to discern. If the collective mass that is Twitter has a say, #bigly is indeed what Trump has said. Hope Hicks, Trump's campaign spokeswoman, told Slate that Trump indeed says "big league." Either way, "bigly" is an accepted adverb, if not a commonly used one. And if we are to accept "big league" into our hearts and ears, his line about taxes during debate No. 1 doesn't quite make sense.

"I'm going to cut regulations. I'm going to cut taxes big league, and you're going to raise taxes big league, end of story," Trump said before Lester Holt interrupted him for straying off topic. During the second debate, Trump echoed the sentiment, just adding that the "big league" cuts would help the middle class.

'No matter how good I do'

Trump has repeatedly stated his disdain for the
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Sara D. Davis

Trump has repeatedly stated his disdain for the New York Times, but, in early August, he told Sean Hannity that the paper's political reporters "don't write good."

In fairness, he likely intended good to mean "good things," but he also said "no matter how good I do," instead of well, during the interview.

The quote: "No matter how good I do on something, they'll never write good. I mean, they don't write good. They have people over there, like Maggie Haberman, and others, they don't write good. They don't know how to write good."

'Of course I do'

Cooper brought up the subject of Trump's taxes
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kena Betancur

Cooper brought up the subject of Trump's taxes at the second debate, but the reply called more attention to loopholes in time than ones in the tax code.

Cooper: "Did you use that $960 million loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes?"

Trump: "Of course I do. Of course I do."


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News photos & videos