Mighty Red Pen

November 3, 2011

Not your mother’s editing marks

Filed under: Uncategorized — mighty red pen @ 7:36 pm
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There are the editing marks we editors all know and live by. Then there are the ones we wish we had so we could really and truly express our reaction to a piece of writing. Here, Eve Corbel gives us what we want in the form of “Lesser-Known Editing and Proofreading Marks.”

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May 3, 2011

A daring fashion choice

Filed under: Overseen,Pop culture,Spellbound,Uncategorized — mighty red pen @ 7:13 pm
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Finding typos on Eonline.com can be like shooting fish in a barrel. Usually, they are sort of garden variety ones (such as the one I spotted earlier today that had Beyonce’s hair in a discrete double bun (rather than a discreet double bun). But you gotta hand it to them this time: yes, if Jesse Eisenberg really did show up to the Rio premiere wearing a crinkled shit, that would be quite the eclectic ensemble.

I know some weird stuff goes down in Hollywood, style-wise, but I think wearing a crinkled shit (whatever that is) would pretty much eclipse Bjork’s swan dress or Lady Gaga’s meat dress just about any day.

Spotted here.

January 29, 2011

Erstwhile, back at the ranch

Filed under: Uncategorized — mighty red pen @ 3:12 pm

From the Department of Redundancy Department comes this little tidbit from a review of the latest book from poet Charles Simic:

Okay, so here’s the deal. According to Merriam Webster, erstwhile means “in the past, formerly,” so it’s not necessary to say someone is the former and erstwhile U.S. poet laureate.

Unless, I guess, you mean they used to be the former poet laureate and now they’re not the former poet laureate anymore because they’re the poet laureate again. It could happen.

December 29, 2010

And a time for every typo under heaven

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound,Uncategorized — mighty red pen @ 7:37 pm
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This little tidbit spotted on a business card:

Time for watches? Try time for proofreading instead.

July 30, 2010

This is just to say

Filed under: Uncategorized — mighty red pen @ 5:35 pm
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Have you seen this pair of funnies over at McSweeney’s?

this is just to say
I drank
all the beer
and then
you were probably
asleep
while I banged Suzanne
but don’t worry
Phil Collins’ greatest
hits were
on all night.

  • And then, because it’s always amusing to make fun of Comic Sans, there’s “I’m Comic Sans, Asshole” by Mike Lacher. Comic Sans lashes out against naysayers, saying  “I’m Comic Sans, and I’m the best thing to happen to typography since Johannes fucking Gutenberg.”

I’m inspired. I think next time a graphic designer brings something by for me to review, I’m going to write a note like this:

this is just to say
that
while your design
was creative
I think it would
benefit
from the use of
Comic Sans.

July 4, 2010

The shaming of the threw

Filed under: Uncategorized — mighty red pen @ 6:58 pm
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H/t to Gopher, who spotted this little tidbit:

Okay, so here’s the deal. If you want a clear plastic bag, you want one that’s see-through (although I’m thinking that if it’s clear, it’s probably also see through).  If you want the past tense of throw, which is what I’d be tempted to do if someone handed me a bag with a gun in it, then you want threw.

November 6, 2009

Signs of the times

Filed under: Spellbound,Uncategorized — mighty red pen @ 7:29 pm
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I have to give this guy a pass for misspelling hemorrhoids only because he managed to pull off hemorrhaging.

health care sign

This person, on the other hand, gets no such pass for misspelling hypocrisy.

health care sign2

Signs spotted on Huffington Post.

September 13, 2009

On the wrong track: personal vs personnel

Filed under: Grammar goddess,Overseen,Uncategorized — mighty red pen @ 12:08 pm
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While waiting at New York’s Penn Station for the train back to Boston, I spotted this little tidbit. It made me really regret not bringing my camera along for the day so that you could also experience the total awesomeness of this wrong word choice:

Passengers and their personnel items may be randomly selected for screening and inspection. Please be aware of the gap between the train and stations.

Okay, here’s the deal: use personnel if you mean the folks who work for an organization, and use personal if you mean something that belongs or relates to a person. Bonus points to any readers out there who make it their personal mission to get a photo of this sign.

March 2, 2009

When Cupertino strikes

Filed under: Uncategorized — mighty red pen @ 2:34 pm
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Hat tip to Kasey for this little tidbit by Mark Peters on the Cupertino effect, “How Spellcheckers Wreak Havoc.” And boy, do they ever:

This type of error is called the Cupertino effect because an old version of spell-check (in Word 97) used to offer Cupertino—the name of a northern California city that is home to Apple—as the first suggestion to replace the word cooperation, which in British English is supposed to have a hyphen. That strange replacement produced bizarre phrases that can still be found in places like the United Nations website, which features intriguing phrases (“…teaching and learning methods that stress participation, Cupertino, problem-solving and respect for differences…”) and lofty goals (“…the strengthening of international peace and Cupertino, should emanate from adults and be instilled in children…”). These words would inspire us all if they didn’t sound so batty.

. . .

Speaking of names, they are particularly vulnerable to being Cupertino’d. According to some errors that popped up last year, Barack Obama did not defeat John McCain, but John Moccasin did lose to Barack Boatman. Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Sam Brownback occasionally were transformed into Rot Paul, Mike Hoecake, and Sam Blowback, names more appropriate for movie stars in various genres. Visual Thesaurus Executive Producer Ben Zimmer has been a prime Cupertino collector, bringing many whacked-out examples to light. My favorites are Lord Voltmeter (Harry Potter’s Lord Voldemort) and Muttonhead Quail Movement (Pakistan’s Muttahida Quami Movement).

I’ve mentioned one of my favorite examples of this before (the spellchecker turned Rodney King into Rodent King), but here’s another that was spotted in a recommendation: A candidate’s rare ability was turned into her rear ability. Oh my.

Got any favorites? Please share.

February 26, 2009

All I’s on Obama: me vs I

It’s not just because I can’t get enough of President Obama and his ability to form a complete sentence while speaking that I was especially interested in an op-ed by Patricia O’Conner (author of Woe Is I) and Stewart Kellerman that appeared in The New York Times earlier this week. It’s actually because “An Object Lesson from the Oval Office” covers a topic that’s near and dear to my heart: the seemingly rampant confusion surrounding the usage of me versus I.

WHEN President Obama speaks before Congress and the nation tonight, he will be facing some of his toughest critics.

Grammar junkies.

Since his election, the president has been roundly criticized by bloggers for using “I” instead of “me” in phrases like “a very personal decision for Michelle and I” or “the main disagreement with John and I” or “graciously invited Michelle and I.”

The rule here, according to conventional wisdom, is that we use “I” as a subject and “me” as an object, whether the pronoun appears by itself or in a twosome. Thus every “I” in those quotes ought to be a “me.”

So should the president go stand in a corner of the Oval Office (if he can find one) and contemplate the error of his ways? Not so fast.

Hat tip to One Good Move.

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