Archive | Mistakes & Mishaps

Even still more goofs and gaffes

Again and again, I see proof of professional reliance on spellcheckers instead of good old proofreading and editing. Case in point: a Northwest Indiana Times article about funding for safety improvements on the South Shore Railroad. The reporter included this bullet point: “Implementation of Positive Train Control, a federally mandated safety system that tracks the precise location […]

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When proofreading, don’t skip the familiar

Whether mistakes are just amusing, horribly damaging, or simply embarrassing, they don’t belong in your marketing communications materials. That’s why proofreading is so important. That said, there’s a certain kind of error that proofreaders miss more often than any other … and it’s quite embarrassing (well, not as much as substituting a call-in sex line’s […]

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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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