A loyal blog reader sent this to me from a Craigslist ad. What is most worrisome about this error is that they used the word “their” correct two other times IN THE SAME SENTENCE! Again, this is something spell check would not catch, so you need to actually read it (and know the difference between there and their). There is a location or at that place (she was sitting there on the blue chair) and their is belonging to them (he loved riding in their Corvette). And just to be complete, they’re is a contraction for they are.
I came across this on a webpage while I was looking for potential speakers for a conference we’re working on.
Here’s the problem (according to the Gregg Reference Manual):
perspective – means to view in correct proportion
prospective – means anticipated
So I’m thinking what they are really looking for are anticipated speakers, not speakers they will view in the correct proportion (wrong on so many levels). I have emailed them about this error so they can fix it. But using it as a teaching moment, I include it here, leaving off the identifying information. My goal is never to embarrass a person or company who has an error in a public place, but to use it to teach you all what is really correct.
This was on a friend’s Facebook page. Even though it is only one letter, there is a huge difference between “comma” and “coma.” Let the punctuation jokes begin.
A blog reader forwarded this one to me. I can see the scene now:
Boss: Can you make a sign for those red band bananas
Worker: Sure thing, boss! You mean the bananas with the red tape that are almost rotten and should be banned?
There are so many errors in this one sign I don’t think I could even get through them all. There are apostrophes used to make words plural, not enough periods, words that should be a single word divided into two words, capital letters where there doesn’t need to be or a small letter (if you want to be consistent) where a capital letter should be, misspellings . . . and my brain has now exploded.
This was on a recent local news station. There is a difference between peak, peek, and pique. Peak is the top, peek is to look slyly at, and pique is resentment or to offend. Obviously, they did not mean that the top is inside the Phoenix Amazon Fulfillment Center, they meant to look inside the Phoenix Amazon Fulfillment Center.
I found this one on Google. Unfortunately, I can believe that someone at the History Channel made this error because lots of people do. I even made it in a post once and even admitted it (here). But really. then and than are not that difficult. Then has an element of time (and then and time both have the letter “e”). Than refers to a comparison (and than and comparison both have the letter “a”). So now that you know better, here is day 2 of Thanksgiving Grammar Giggles.
This picture is from my last trip to one of my favorite restaurants. There IS a difference! I live in the DESERT and I love to eat DESSERT.
This one comes from Twitter. The confusion between to, too, and two is high, but signmakers need to do more than use the “that’s the way they gave it to me” excuse. Between a few people, one can hope that someone would get it right. Then again . . .
Here are just a couple of quickies that don’t really warrant an entire blog post, but where readers have requested clarification.
1. Kitty corner or catty corner? According to Merriam-Webster Online, kitty-corner is used to describe two things that are located across from each other on opposite corners. Variants of kitty-corner are both catercorner and catty-corner. Which word you use could be determined by where you live. Those in the northeast part of the country use kitty-corner most often and those in the southeast part of the country use catty-corner. This website has a map based on a dialect survey that is interesting for this issue – http://www4.uwm.edu/FLL/linguistics/dialect/staticmaps/q_76.html. Basically, all three forms are correct, but catercorner and catty-corner are derivatives of the more popular katty-corner.
2. Onto or on to. Onto is a preposition describing the direction of something moving toward a surface. A trick that you can use is to check to see if on can replace onto.
She climbed onto her car.
In this sentence, onto is correct because “She climbed on her car” makes sense. On the other hand, if you left someone something in your will, you would not say “I passed my grandfather’s pocket watch on him,” so that sentence should be:
I passed my grandfather’s pocket watch on to him.
Let me know if you have something you struggle with. Chances are that it isn’t just you and others can benefit from a blog post about that very topic. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.