Mighty Red Pen

October 26, 2011

Principal vs. principle

Filed under: Grammar goddess,Perilous punctuation,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 6:36 pm
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This little tidbit was spotted on BuzzFeed.

Okay, here’s the deal. When you mean “a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption,” “a primary source,” or “an underlying faculty or endowment” (M-W), then the word you want is principle. When you mean “a person who has controlling authority or is in a leading position” (M-W), such as the person who has the power to put you in detention until the day you graduate from high school, then the word you want is principal. In this case, although Allen Gregory may very well love his principles, what they meant to show was that Allen Gregory loves his principal.

In principle, the proofreader of this article might want to make checking for spelling of principal importance.


Bonus MRP moment: In addition to this delicious typo, BuzzFeed also brings us “14 Punctuation Marks That You Never Knew Existed.” Impress your friends and scare your enemies with your new knowledge of guillemets, sheffer strokes, and asterisms.

February 7, 2010

Coming to their rescue: Aid vs. aide

Filed under: Spellbound,Word wars — mighty red pen @ 7:53 pm

This little tidbit spotted on eonline.com:

Okay, so here’s the deal. If you mean assistant (helper), then the word you want is aide. If you mean assistance (help), then the word you want is aid.

Someone should have been a better aide to this proofreader and offered them some editorial aid.

Brians Common Errors weighs in, also more here. And over at Sentence Sleuth, gimlet eyes spotted this same error in the new “Sherlock Holmes” movie, of all places.

July 6, 2009

Just whittling away

Filed under: Spellbound,Word wars — mighty red pen @ 6:35 pm
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Although widdle appears in Urban Dictionary (with about three different and totally unrelated meanings), we’d much prefer to see whittle (“to cut, trim, or shape”) used here:


Spotted on eonline.

June 16, 2009

Making headlines

Filed under: Word wars — mighty red pen @ 7:47 pm
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Sometimes, what you think something means is not what someone else thinks something means. For example, this headline:


For some people, especially people in the Philippines, MILF means Moro Islamic Liberation Front. For others, it means, er, hot mom.

MRP wonders: What’s next for the Filipino Air Force—they start attacking the cougars?

Hat tip to Nikita.

November 6, 2008

It just blows my mind

Filed under: Grammar goddess,Perilous punctuation — mighty red pen @ 7:03 pm
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Hat tip to Joy, who writes, “And this one is for a college!”


One thing I would do is click this if you’re ready to learn the correct usage of you’re (a contraction for you are) and your (a possessive that means something that belongs to you).

October 6, 2008

Peek vs. peak (vs. pique)

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:22 pm
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Take a peek at this typo, seen at Drumlin Farm, in Lincoln, Mass.:

Okay, here’s the deal. When you are making a delicious pie with a meringue topping, you beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. However, if while in a dark forest, you find that your curiosity is piqued and you wish to cast your eye upon unsuspecting pill bugs looking for a dark place where they are protected from you, please just take a peek.

June 26, 2008


Filed under: Apostrophe catastrophe,Grammar goddess,Pop culture — mighty red pen @ 5:53 pm
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Now this might be change MRP can believe in:

Hat tip When Obama Wins and RaJo.

June 4, 2008

Personnel vs personal

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 5:04 pm
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Hat tip to Helen’s Dad for this little tidbit overseen in Key Biscayne:

He writes of his encounter with a member of the fire department’s personnel:

One of the firemen was walking by when I was taking that photo.  He agreed it was incorrect — he’s trying to teach his kids proper English.  Then I told him I was taking the photo for my friend’s grammar blog.  He said, “What?  A grammar blog.”  I explained what it was and he didn’t answer, just started walking away.  I hollered, “I guess you don’t want the link?”  He turned around and guffawed.  Guy just doesn’t know what he’s missing.

Guffawed? Don’t worry, MRP’s not taking it personally.

May 29, 2008

Making an investment

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:51 pm
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This little tidbit from Nikita, who writes, “Please do see the attached and note the first line of the ‘login error’ text.  Then ask if that is who you want managing your millions of dollars.”

Indeed. Morgan Stanley might want to invest in some proofreading. Just sayin’.

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