Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's all about the spelling

I think that poor spelling plagues us as a nation. Everybody has a humorous story about a poorly placed typographical error somewhere.

I was really thinking about this on my drive into work this morning. As I sat, stuck in traffic (an entirely separate issue), I was stuck for ten minutes behind a truck for a company that promised "proffesional carpet cleaning." It was a "proffesional" graphics job, too, which leads me to believe that there are company signs and letterheads out there with this same copy. Really, how "proffesional" do you think this company can be? And has anyone even pointed this out to them?

It's nationwide. In New Jersey, there was a problem with a brochure for people who wanted to order special license plates:
The toll-free number with information about handicapped or animal-friendly plates has one of the new 8-8-8 area codes, instead of the usual 1-800 numbers.
When the brochure was printed with a 1-800 number instead, people trying to order license plates were calling a phone sex line. Link

A writer I work with just received an e-mail describing one cosmetic company's efforts to help fight "beast cancer."

In my day job, I am a writer and editor. Spelling is a big deal around here. Even when people do use spell check, they are not proofreading their work; I have stopped errors that, while spelled right, created a meaning that was quite the opposite of what was intended.

Nobody's perfect. I often post here, and then go back to edit and tweak the content repeatedly. I think that's the important thing that's missing; people don't always seem to care about accuracy in communication. Check it, check it again, and check it one more time. Then, go back later and check it again and see how much you have still overlooked.

What typos have you noticed in your day-to-day? Did you think they were funny? Or, like me, did they just kind of piss you off?


Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh was rife with them for some reason. Not that I'm saying anything about Pittsburgh (not that I'm not). One that sticks out that used to make use ridiculously upset was a sign on the local grocery chain advertising job openings. It read: "We have alot of opportunities."

Maybe this falls less into the spelling category and more into the same realm as my personal bane, pluralizing-with-aspostrophes. "A lot" is a pair of words, not one word. It's not a very well-thought-out pair of words to begin with, but making it into "alot" is just mind-melting.

Paprika said...

actually, i think that sign said "there are alot of reasons" to work there.
it was HUGE on the poster, too. like, how the fricker-frack can you miss something like that???

Anonymous said...

I's aggree wit all'o yoos...

Now, as a sign industry representative I can only defend so much...but when it comes to errors in signs, time constraints are usually to blame. Oh, and the fact that nobody cares anymore.

Chep said...

Among my travels I have seen many typos/misspells - but not as many as I did in NWIN.

BTW - the typo from the other day I DID catch - but too late to correct and too lazy to delete and rewrite (and I suspect the reason many errors go uncorrected)