Typo and Grammar Gaffe Friday

Busy day yesterday. I started a website project in the morning, then put it aside to get a press release draft put together. But I watched myself drag my heels on that project. I wanted to get it done well and quickly, but I was tired. Once again, my thyroid hormone levels are down, so I’m “between dosages” so to speak. Today should be better now that I’m on a higher dose.

I hopped on the About Writing Squared forum a few times, too. We have some lively discussions going, and I wanted to check the progress as folks weighed in. Also, we have a feature on the forum called Tip of the Week and it was neat seeing how people are handling the “assignment” so to speak.

Today is International Freelancers Day as decided by the International Freelancers Academy. Sounds like a great line-up of folks giving presentations online – Peter Bowerman, Michael Stelzner, Chris Garrett, Jason Womack…. If you’re able, get on over and check it out. They say registration ended last night, but I suspect if you show up you may find a way in. If not, I’ll report some of the more interesting sessions here for you.

Seems like yesterday was a day for typos. The first was more of a grammar gaffe, which I’d heard on the radio. But the rest? All typos, and all interesting, to say the least.

Radio announcement I heard yesterday for a local event:
“There will be repelling firemen…”: You probably mean “rappelling” firemen, but I’m curious to see how many people leave because of those firemen and why. Do they smell? Tell bad jokes? Insult everyone?

Ad I received from a magazine:
Get a full year until October 15th: Worse, this was a corrected version of a prior email. I know what you mean, but perhaps you should say it correctly, because you can almost hear a few people saying “But that’s not a whole year! That’s less than a month!”

In an online sales ad:
Constructed in luxurious silk, this dress from DIANE von FURSTENBERG boasts a daringly low cowlneck and side tie belt.: Am I the only one envisioning a really low side-tie belt? It must be daring to try walking with a belt flapping around your ankles.

In an email offer from a publisher:
“The can subscribe by clicking the link below:”: The? The what? Oh, you mean they. That’s okay. I’ve made that mistake sometimes, too. However, my email didn’t go out to thousands of people at the same time promoting a magazine devoted to the publishing industry, for that might mean that proofreading is dead. Oh wait – it is. Never mind. Carry on…

Have you come across interesting typos or grammar gaffes lately?

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  • Colin Galbraith September 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I came across a great grammar gaffe yesterday, as it happens…

    Q/ How many sub-editors does it take to change a light bulb?

    A/ Too


  • Devon Ellington September 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Some of my students are mis-using words along the lines of your first and last example. I tell them I can only respond to what is actually on the page, not what they thought they meant. Proofread!

  • Jake P September 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    A few weeks ago, I saw an official, orange DMV traffic sign that advised me "NO SHOWLDER AHEAD". Unfortunately, it was on the way to our weekend outpost, so it was gone by the next trip. I was devastated that I didn't get a photo.

    And I have to imagine that online sales ad is impenetrable to 95% of all males. I can't even tell what's wrong with it, let alone how you would fix it.

    Great weekend to all!

  • Joseph Hyes September 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Because I'm always searching for theater submission guidelines, I'm continuously finding websites that bury the theater's address, even what city they're in, under 4 levels of links. Are they hiding? Theater witness protection? That has nothing to do with typos, I just had to vent. On the indecipherable front, here's a review of a light kit I was hoping to buy…
    This set up uses veteran peculiarity materials as well as provides glorious formula as a stand-alone unit. It will additionally confederate ideally with any one more college of music lighting or gels which we might wish to operate for mural or product shooting.

  • Lori September 23, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Good lord, Joseph! What the hell are they selling? I can't for the life of me figure out what they mean. Obviously a foreign speaker using a translator. 🙂

    Colin, that's funny!

    Devon, proofread indeed! I get that in blogs we're just winging it, but in anything we present beyond that, we have to be careful. Mistakes happen. The idea is to limit the number of people viewing those mistakes. 🙂

    Jake, I wonder what a "showlder" looks like? It's sounds almost Klingon.

  • Wendy September 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I don't have any examples for you today.

    But, I couldn't resist saying that those "repelling fireman" should use a stronger deodorant! So, I vote for the smell option you have there. At least the ad warns you that you're going to this event with the possibility of being repelled. I hate it when no one takes the time to warn you.

    For some stupid reason, cowlneck makes me think of a cow bell. So, that could be why the side belt is hanging low. The cow bell is just too heavy for silk.

  • Paula September 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    One memorable mis-translation I ran into (Vietnamese-to-English) was in a recipe on a package. Measurements were vague, but the best line was, "Add cooked water."

    Mis-translations can be fun, but two recent examples in my local news media had me cringing. A TV news anchor discussing school enrollment said there were "less" students when he meant "fewer."

    I think I mentioned the other major typo here a couple weeks ago: In the Health Beat section of the local newspaper the headline read,"Know the warning signs of heat-related illness," but no such signs were mentioned anywhere in the article. I sent the editor-in-chief a polite letter (with the clip) kindly pointing out the misleading title, and asking if it was a case of bad editing, poor headline writing, or incomplete content. I said it read like something from a $3-per article content mill, then went on to offer a few examples of how the overall quality of the paper has declined in the past year or so. (Reporters quoting Twitter, blog posts recycled as columns, mash-ups of other stories their reporters read online, and running the same wire stories two or three times in a week – and I only get weekend delivery.) I said I want to support print media, but his paper is making that difficult. I gave him an out, as well, by noting the decline began under his predecessor. Nearly a month has passed and the only communication I've received from the paper is notification that their rates are going up – "…about the cost of a Happy Meal" – and saying how subscribers will now receive "free" access to the web edition. Free? Really?

  • Lori September 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Wendy, I have visions of runways filled with models struggling to stand upright… LOL

    Paula, that's nuts! I don't suspect he'll get in touch – he's probably not sure what you said since it was in perfect English. LOL

  • Cassie September 23, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I guess it was just a matter of time. Missed (but thankfully caught on my second round of edits):

    "… your sponsorship will make the pubic and other professionals more aware of your services."

  • Devon Ellington September 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm


    The Theatre Communications Guild puts out a great annual directory of regionals, LORTS, LOA, etc. It has the addresses, websites, names and titles of key personnel. I use it to cross-reference the submission guidelines.

    You can get it through the Drama Book Shop in NY (they ship) and probably through TCG directly.

    It's worth it.

  • Lori September 26, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Oh Cassie, that's one of my biggest fears! LOL Glad you caught it. I remember catching one for a university where they were asking students for course "erections."

  • Steve YATES September 27, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I just spotted this one

    "However, I my email didn't go out to thousands of people at the same time"

    I wonder where I found it ?


  • Lori September 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    LOL! You've caught me, Steve. Sharp eyes!

  • Lori September 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    And wasn't that my fear, too – that I'd screw up my own grammar on a grammar post. 🙂 Fixed. Thanks for pointing it out.