In last week’s Saturday Sydney Morning Herald, a reviewer of Beowulf said “I was expecting a craptacular”. His unmet expectations notwithstanding, I found it somewhat curious that he had used “a craptacular” instead of just “craptacular”.

Yeah, yeah… it’s not even a real word – it’s just one of those stupid Internet concoctions, a combination of “crap” and “spectacular” – but because it appeared in the mainstream press, I’m allowed to get worked up about it. The Urban Dictionary defines it simply as “spectacularly crappy” and cites Bart Simpson commenting on Homer’s Christmas lights (“It’s craptacular”)*, amongst others, as examples of its use.

What I’m trying to get at is here is that “craptacular” is supposed to be a superlative form of the adjective “crap” whereas the reviewer, by adding an indefinite article**, used it like the noun form of “spectacular”. But is that wrong? Google tends to agree. A quick skim of the approximate 18,700 results for “a craptacular” shows that very few (if any) have used it in nounal form. But who knows, maybe in the next few months or years we might all be talking about movie craptaculars, craptaculars on TV, etc…

Ah, such is the folly of being a grammar geek.


* An audio clip of this is available here.
** I didn’t actually know this, I just looked it up to make myself sound smart.