Archive | Mistakes & Mishaps

Sorry for the WHAT?

It happens so often that I have trouble believing it. People inadvertently reveal a little more than they want us to know about them. They post a confession and an apology: “Sorry for the incontinence.” Sure, we know (or at least we hope) that they’re really not apologizing for bladder problems. We’re hoping they really […]

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Another set of goofs and gaffes

I’ve recently seen several mistakes involving the wrong word used in place of another that sounds identical, but is spelled differently and carries a vastly different meaning. An Indianapolis Star article about flooding had a caption that began “Storms dye down …”  The writer meant to say “die down,” as in taper away, not “dye […]

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Walla and no further adieu

Most people who insert foreign-language phrases and expressions into their materials do so because it makes them appear to be intelligent and sophisticated, n’est-ce pas? That is, it does unless they misspell the phrase or don’t really understand what it means. A particularly common error involves using the marvelous French word “voilà” (“behold” or “there […]

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Should you compliment someone or complement them?

Many words that are similar carry very different meanings, but that doesn’t stop people from misusing them. Generally, they’ll accept a correction in the intended spirit, but that isn’t always the case. I remember one situation in which a client was so convinced that his misunderstanding was actually correct that I lost his business. He […]

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Election coverage goofs and more

  Election coverage is fast-paced. I get that. But there’s always time to double-check what you’ve written. Unfortunately, many in the national media have been sloppier than normal this year. What’s particularly disturbing to me is when I see wrong words in Associated Press stories, given that the AP once set the standard for excellence. […]

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