Mighty Red Pen

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.

November 19, 2012

I saw the sign

Filed under: Pop culture,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 7:08 pm
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This sentence is possibly one of the most tortured pieces of writing I have come across in a long, long time. It appeared in an article about a recent performance Aerosmith gave outside the Boston apartment building they used to live in back in the day.

“Across the street from 1325 Commonwealth Ave. is a sign that Aerosmith band members wrote in a book they would see when they walked out the front door of their apartment building during the early 1970s.”

Here’s the problem: this poor little sentence is trying to do too many things at once. Is it a sign they wrote in a book? Is it a book they would see when they walked out the front door of their apartment building? Or is it neither of these? My red pen is itching to get at it.

From the rest of the article, we find out that it’s a sign they would see when they walked out of their apartment and that they wrote about in a book. But that’s a long way to get there from here. With a little editing, this sentence could be pared down and reordered to reflect that, something like this (for example):

“Across the street from 1325 Commonwealth Ave. is a sign that Aerosmith band members would see when they walked out the front door of the apartment building, which they lived in during the early 1970s. They wrote about seeing the sign in their book.”

But unfortunately, that’s a lot less interesting than the idea of them writing a sign in a book they would see when they walked out of their apartment. And hey, it was Aerosmith, and it was the 1970s. Anything was possible.

October 30, 2012

Spooktacular apostrophe

Filed under: Apostrophe catastrophe — mighty red pen @ 6:41 pm
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Great googly-moogly, this ghoulish little apostrophe sure puts the “trick” in “trick-or-treat.”

This Halloween, don’t be haunted by the grocer’s apostrophe. When forming a plural, no apostrophe is needed.

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.

September 18, 2012

A vision of the future. Literally.

Filed under: Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 6:41 pm
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“Cautionary Ghost” by xkcd

 

September 17, 2012

Its, er, It’s a typo!

Filed under: Apostrophe catastrophe — mighty red pen @ 6:41 pm
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H/t to the Mighty Quinn (no relation to MRP), who spotted this little tidbit in Vermont:

Ah, these sign makers have taken the good old it’s/its confusion (which is, as we know, near and dear to MRP’s heart) to a whole ‘nother level.

Okay, here’s the deal. As a contraction of the words it is, the apostrophe is placed thusly: it’s. When it’s possession you seek to show, that’s its, as in Barbecue At Its Best!

If you find yourself putting the apostrophe after the whole shebang, as in its’, then you need to reevaluate and start all over again. Brians’ Common Errors in English Usage can help, as can The Oatmeal.

August 15, 2012

Vamoose! (mousse vs. moose)

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 5:55 pm
Tags: , ,

Well-documented, I love a good dessert (especially one that involves chocolate. Or coconut. Or maybe both). But one thing I will not be ordering is ice cream moose.

Okay, so here’s the deal. When you order “a molded chilled dessert made with sweetened and flavored whipped cream or egg whites and gelatin” (M-W), you are hoping for a delicious mousse.

If instead the waiter brings you “a ruminant mammal (Alces alces) with humped shoulders, long legs, and broadly palmated antlers ” (M-W), he has brought you a moose, which, unless it’s actually made of ice cream, is not likely to be that satisfying, you know, dessert-wise.

Typo spotted here.

August 13, 2012

The highwayman came riding

Filed under: Lit review — mighty red pen @ 5:37 pm
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I admit it, when I was but a mighty red crayon, I desperately wanted to be Anne of Green Gables (well, after I gave up my dream of being Harriet the Spy or Encyclopedia Brown). I devoured every Anne book (and pretty much any book by L.M. Montgomery I could get my hands on), and they left an indelible imprint. To this day, any reference to Prince Edward Island or the Lady of Shalott or the name Gilbert can transport me right back to that world.

As any good reader of the series will remember, one key moment of the books was Anne’s recitation of “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes. Here’s a clip of Megan Follows recreating that moment:

And, as a bonus, here’s Loreena McKennitt’s version of “The Highwayman”

********

Added bonus! I just read that they are bringing Anne back to tv!

 

August 12, 2012

Heavenly typo

Filed under: Apostrophe catastrophe — mighty red pen @ 1:35 pm
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It may be true that God loves you.

However, this extra apostrophe in loves may need a divine intervention.

 

 

July 18, 2012

Tossed typo

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 6:20 pm
Tags: ,

Surely, it was caprice that caused someone to spell Caprese this way:

 

Okay, here’s the deal: If you want “a sudden, impulsive, and seemingly unmotivated notion or action” (M-W), then that’s caprice. When you want a delicious salad made with mozzarella, tomato, and basil, that’s an Insalata Caprese. Which happens to be one of MRP’s favorite salad combinations. Um, excuse me, I’m feeling a little hungry . . .

H/t to Sam, who spotted this tasty little typo at Jose McIntyre’s in Boston.

 

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