Typos, Grammar Screw-ups, and Other Things that Tick Me Off

I was shopping at the mall with my daughter the other day when we saw it – a t-shirt that had an illustration of a trash can on it and a stick figure tossing something in the general direction of the can. The shirt read: “Put it in it’s place.” There I stood in the teeny-bopper section of the mall, ranting. I’m telling you, that typo even hurt to recreate just now. I turned to my daughter (who saw what was coming and avoided eye contact) and I said, “Do you see that? How stupid!” Pause. Then I added, “You know why that’s wrong, don’t you?” To which she rolled her eyes and sighed. “Yes, Mom. Just…move on.”

I can’t move on from stuff like that. It upsets the balance in my otherwise balanced existence. It’s okay if I make a mistake. It’s okay if she makes a mistake. What’s not okay is that a mistake like that makes it through the manufacturing cycle. I mean, where was the proofreader that day? Did no one in the entire cycle understand basic possessives? (Then again, if these shirts were made where I suspect they were, no one was old enough to understand, but I digress.) I wanted to storm the checkout and berate them for allowing teenagers to walk around grammatically incorrect all day, possessively unaware….but the shirt was stupid, so I simply prayed the puberty patrol would bypass it due to its unappealing nature (or should I say “it’s unappealing nature?”… snark).

Worse was the time a coworker called me over to her desk and pointed to an ad in The New Yorker. Right there, full page, was one line on a jeweler’s ad that read: “In a league of it’s own.” In The New Yorker. Full page. If I had been the ad sales rep at the magazine, I’d have refused to accept the ad. But again, sales reps are not hired for their ability to spot grammatical errors, so it’s no reflection on them. But someone should’ve lost a job over that – someone that jeweler hired to put that ad together.

I’m all for movements like the TEAL team (Typo Eridication Advancement League) or SPOGG (Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar). In fact, I want the SPOGG t-shirt that reads “Punctuation is Cool.”

They would stop things like typos in major magazines. I saw one in a magazine I subscribe to – the editors chose a word to describe an outfit that was the equivalent of saying “bondage” when you mean “edgy.” That they overuse the words “utilitarian” and “toughen” is bad enough – at least slow down long enough to use the proper word.

I’ve ranted enough. Typos will happen. Grammar will always be abused by the weak minded. How about you? What typos or instances of improper grammar have you seen? Which ones stand out as the worst you’ve seen?

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  • Eileen Coale May 21, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Being on a low carb diet, I spend some time on diet forums. At least a third of the people who mean to say “lose weight” spell it incorrectly, “loose weight.” That one drives me batty. It’s almost as common as “it’s” instead of “its”.

  • Lori May 21, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Well maybe they HAVE loose weight. :))

    The one that sends me off the edge: “then” instead of “than.” I want to scream when I see seemingly intelligent people using those two incorrectly!

  • Steph VanderMeulen May 21, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I abhor seeing things like this: “The Grant’s.” Or finding things like this: “Egg’s sold here.” Or the misuse of quotation marks, like this: Vader’s “organic chicken.” Hmmm, what is it, then, if not organic chicken? Don’t want to find out. And when you say, I’m kind of a “bid deal” around here, do you understand that you’re really saying you’re not a big deal? (That was another tee-shirt, btw!)

  • Lori May 21, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Got an invite to a party this week, consisting of four sentences. Every bloody one had a spelling or grammatical error. I overlook it when it’s a kid’s party, but Mom wrote the invitation. And she wrote ” join the Smith’s as they celebrate….”


  • Rebecca Smith May 21, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I want to bring a red pen with me to the supermarket the next time I go.

    If I see one more sign for “egg’s” or “potato’s,” I’m going to go “banana’s”!

  • Marijke May 21, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    I call it the “apostrophization of the English language.” People feel they just HAVE to put apostrophes. My pet peeve after the its/it’s is the 1950’s or 1880’s instead of 1950s or 1880s.

    Now… for my grammar ACK: the use of quotation marks. Why “must” people “feel” that they “need” to “use” quotation marks when “they” are trying to “emphasize” something???? It drives me BATTY….

    Ok, I know, I need a life.

  • Lori May 21, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    They look like little eyelashes, don’t they, Marijke? :))

    I’m with you, sister. Death to the overuse of quotation marks!

  • Tei May 21, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Dude, did you come and rant with me in my long War on English post about the exclamation marks? It was a LONG post, because I was VERY upset.

    And yes. Poor possessives must die. Also the misuse of ‘breath’ and ‘breathe.’ It makes me want to kill people.