OK, this one’s been a minor peeve of mine for a while, so we’re going to do a “words/language” item about a non-English language: Spanish.
The slogan that’s translated as “Yes, we can!” is “¡Sí, se puede!”... that’s sí, with an accent mark, not si, without one. The former means “yes”; the latter means “if”. And when it’s rendered with neither the accent nor the comma, as “Si se puede,” it means “If one can,” or, then, “If we can.”
Si se puede, vamos a hacerlo. If we can, let’s do it. We might as well, why not? It sounds so uninspired. Equivocal. Noncommittal.
¡Sí, se puede! ¡Vamos a hacerlo! Yes, we can! Let’s do it! There’s movement there, inspiration, commitment... blood, toil, tears, and sweat!
I know there’s an issue of character sets and the fact that the inverted exclamation mark and the accented letter i are not English characters. But, well, come on: we’re all using computers now, and it’s not brain surgery. One might not want to bother in a blog entry (though I do, pedant that I be), but with the news media, it’s their job.
Let’s get it right. Yes, we can!