Year-end goofs and gaffes

From time to time, I share embarrassing mistakes writers shouldn’t have made. I don’t target well-meaning amateurs — only professional writers and editors who should know better. Some recent examples: A September political newsletter from the Indianapolis Business Journal referenced a candidate forum by noting, “It wasn’t a true debate persay; all of the questions … Read more

More goofs and gaffes

A local magazine’s article about a coworking space included a number of amusing typos, but my favorite had to be when the author described the floorplan, noting “… comfortable booths and couches and desks with partisans to offer privacy.” Neither the writer nor the editor caught that one. Obviously, the author meant “partitions,” as in … Read more

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. … Read more


“Will instant replay settle baseball’s furries?”   That was the headline on an online story in the Hendricks County Flyer. I didn’t read the story, so I’m not sure whether it was a discussion of arguments between mascots or just a misspelling of “furies.”   I’m also not sure if someone stumbled onto a miracle … Read more


If you use an electronic sign, always check the number of characters it can display at any one time. One local business called “Glass Pros” uses its sign to make promotional messages, some of which end with the company’s name. Unfortunately, it appears that the screen can only display eight letters and/or spaces at a time, so when a message stops scrolling, only the last eight letters and/or spaces remain visible. Take a look at their name, do a little counting, and you’ll see how their sign presents them.

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“… He then undressed her from the waste down and cut open her shirt and bra …” That salacious gem came from a story on the Indianapolis Star’s website. I had images of Lady Gaga wearing an outfit made of trash, or perhaps someone who was stuck headfirst into a landfill. Once again, a story was spellchecked, but not edited. Or maybe the writer really wasn’t referring to a woman’s waist.

A similar, but less exciting example appeared in the February issue of Trains Magazine. In an item about a railroad executive, a writer mentioned that the man “was previously general council.” No, that would be “counsel,” a noun most often referring to attorneys when preceded by “general.” A “council” is a group of people gathered for a particular task, such as a “town council” or a “merchants’ council.”

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