Mighty Red Pen

October 22, 2014

Mon dieu! Le typo!

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 6:31 pm
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Here’s a tasty little typo that turns chicken with wine (coq au vin) into chicken with vine. Whatever that would be. I’m a little afraid to ask.

And, not for nothing, it’s written correctly directly above where it’s written incorrectly. Kinda makes you want a glass of vin, no? Le sigh.

coq au vin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Scott, who spotted it at a market in western New York.

June 11, 2014

Out of order

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 8:12 pm
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Spotted this little tidbit in the dining hall of my alma mater during my recent reunion. Although kids were disappointed that the chocolate milk was unavailable, it looks like that wasn’t the only thing that was out of order.

Sign with the word chocolate misspelled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which reunion year was it, you ask? Well, as you know, a lady never reveals any information that could lead to knowledge of her age. But not seeing any ladies around, come over here so I can whisper it in your ear: it was my tenth.

March 25, 2014

Waffling on the spelling

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:47 pm
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Here’s a sweet little tidbit that came my way just in time for International Waffle Day today. It was spotted at a restaurant in Chicago.

Typo spotted on a restaurant menu

This is not an uncommon typo—I’m sure I’ve seen it a time or two (or three), and you probably have as well, so let’s iron out this confusion once and for all: it’s Belgian waffles, not Belgium waffles (Belgian being the adjective, Belgium the country).

And in case you’re wondering: yes, serving MRP up a tasty typo like this one is second only to serving up an actual plate of waffles (Belgian or otherwise).  Not to pour it on too thick, but the actual first thing I did when I saw this typo was wish I were having waffles for lunch … or dinner … or lunch and dinner …

Thanks to @ScottMalouf.

Bonus MRP moment: Today would have been Flannery O’Connor’s birthday. Her work has held a special place in my heart since I did a project in high school that involved reading everything by her that I could get my hands on and then writing a 20-page paper (a project that was admittedly easier for me than it was for friends who chose more prolific authors such as Hemingway or Twain). One of the best surprises about reading all of her works was how much I loved her collected letters, The Habit of Being. In honor of her birthday, take a listen to “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Sufjan Stevens, which is a retelling of O’Connor’s story of the same name but from an unexpected perspective.

 

March 4, 2014

It’s beginning to look a lot like National Grammar Day

Filed under: Grammar goddess,Perilous punctuation,Spellbound,Word nerds — mighty red pen @ 7:00 am

My wordies — how time has flown! If it’s March 4, it’s National Grammar Day once again, and here’s MRP with some goodies. Just. For. You.

First, h/t to one of my roving reporters for this little tidbit, spotted in Minneapolis. Oh dear, will no one think of the childrens and add an apostrophe to Children’s Center? Please?

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Next, you could do no better than to head over to the official National Grammar Day site (put together by the one and only Grammar Girl) for t-shirts, contests, free wallpaper, and other Grammar Day swag. While you’re there, you’ll want to check out this year’s installment of John E. McIntyre‘s Grammarnoir serial: “Grammar Never Takes a Holiday” (and read Grammarnoirs of years past) and get the results of Editor Mark‘s grammar haiku contest. And for real-live Grammar Day fun, check out #grammarday on Twitter.

And there’s more. More! Because you’ve been so good this year, here’s the late, great Pete Seeger with his rendition of “English is Crazy” (more like English is curaaaaayzee!). You know that’s true.

And if you’ve never seen this piece by poet Taylor Mali, then you’ll want to check out “The The Impotence of Proofreading,” like, now. H/t to David for that.

And finally, wordies, please remember what MRP has always told you on this most special of word nerd days: You have been given a great power and with it comes great responsibility. Have mercy — do not use your ability to write grammatically correct, well-punctuated, and perfectly spelled sentences to put down and insult those who struggle mightily. Go forth and be kind to others who have made mistakes. Peeve no more — next time, the red pen may be pointed at you. Happy National Grammar Day!

January 17, 2013

Judgment day

Filed under: Grammar goddess,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 8:07 pm
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Okay, I don’t really judge anyone for using poor grammar. I mean, not really

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Okay, maybe just a little. But just a little.

H/t someecards and Beth.

January 15, 2013

Up on a peddle stool

Filed under: Overseen,Pop culture,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:47 pm
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In this little eggcorn, an unsuspecting YouTube commenter uses peddle stool when pedestal was the word they were seeking.

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Peddle stool (or pedal stool) seems to be a somewhat common rendering of pedestal (as documented, for example, by the Eggcorn Database and Brians’ Common Errors in English Usage) but what people understand a peddle stool (or pedal stool) to even be is kind of beyond me. Anyone got any ideas?

A quick perusal of the InterWebs leads to all kinds of eggcorn-related amusement, though. This guy sings a whole song about being put up on a peddle stool. Over at Language Log, there’s an entire essay composed of eggcorns. And tv show “The IT Crowd” got some mileage out of the joke.

January 14, 2013

Don’t tread on me

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 8:06 pm
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Apparently, folks in California are looking forward to a visit from one of their favorite folk heroes: Paul Bunion. Wonder if he’ll be traveling with his pals Tom Toenail and Harry the Hammertoe.

paul bunion bunyan

Here on the East Coast, we’ll be holding out for a visit from that other guy: Paul Bunyan.

H/t to my West Coast correspondent, who spotted this little tidbit in the East Bay Express.

November 21, 2012

Bonfire of the typos

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:32 pm
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This little tidbit spotted in Metrowest Boston struck a certain chord:

Okay, here’s the deal. If you are buying a “a unit of wood cut for fuel equal to a stack 4 x 4 x 8 feet or 128 cubic feet,” then that’s a cord (M-W). If you are a strumming on your guitar by the fire that you have built using some of the wood from the cord you just bought, then you are playing a few chords (“three or more musical tones sounded simultaneously,” M-W).

If you get a very good deal on your cord of wood, you might be getting it for a song. But that’s a lot of chords. Usually. Unless it’s a very boring song. Then maybe only one chord.  But that’s a different story.

November 20, 2012

Not too shabby

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:10 pm
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This little tidbit, spotted on Craigslist, absolutely cracked me up. The poster is trying to make their old table seem more appealing by labeling it as shabby chic. Instead, they mixed chic with sheik, and gave it a whole new meaning.

Okay, here’s the deal: If you are talking about “a male leader in an Arab country,” then the word you want is sheik (or sheikh) (Macmillan). If you are talking about something that is “fashionable and attractive in style,” then the word you want is chic (Macmillan). Is it possible for there to be a shabby sheik? No doubt. But when referring to furniture, the term you want is shabby chic.

Here’s more on chic-sheik as homophones and as eggcorns.

September 19, 2012

A shred of a typo

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 6:56 pm
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H/t to Captain Nemo, who spotted this little tidbit:

I love that someone looked at this and knew something wasn’t right and tried to make it better. Okay here’s the deal: When you have a box full of papers to shred, they are to be shredded. Not shread, and certainly not shreaded. Nice try, though.

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