September 3rd marked the 10th anniversary of Proof That blog. It is sometimes hard to believe that there is enough new material to keep it going for ten years, but then it is really not that hard to believe. It’s also hard to believe there are people who are interested in proofreading and learning about common errors all these years later, so thank you for being one of them. I do appreciate every reader.
While we’re talking about anniversaries, here are some quick tips:
- The anniversary of the day you were married is your “wedding anniversary,” NOT your “marriage anniversary.”
- It is redundant to say “10th-year anniversary.” Saying “10th anniversary” is much clearer.
I encourage you all to go out and celebrate by correcting ten errors in someone’s writing today.
A local newspaper was apparently so intent on getting news out about rumors of a possible NFL trade that they forgot to read the news story. Here is just one paragraph of that story that I found three errors in–and I’m not even a real football fan!
My brother sent this to me from a local newspaper remembering a drive-in theatre in Mesa. “It’s” is one of those words that does not follow the normal possession rules. The only time to use “it’s” is as a contraction of “it is.” If “it” owns something, it is simply “its.”
Plus, if you are talking about decades, they got it right the second time–the last two numerals of the decade, no apostrophe, and “s.” You wouldn’t spell it out once and then use numerals once.
Finally, “til” isn’t a word. It should be “until.” However, Merriam Webster and the Urban Dictionary disagree and say that “’til” is a contraction for “until,” but not in formal writing. That means that even though this wouldn’t be considered “formal” writing, this example is still incorrect since there is no apostrophe to indicate the “un” is missing.
I received this in response to an email I sent out. I realize that 2020 messed with our heads, but there are still only 31 days in January in 2021. It is important to review your out of office email after you type it to make sure it reads the way you want it to.
I saw this online. It appears someone got carried away with the zeros and instead of 10 people sickened, they initially reported that it was 100. That’s quite a difference in the number of people affected, which makes for bad news in my book.
I caught this on my news station recently. They did catch (and fix) the error in the same story, but the error should not have happened to begin with.
A friend sent this to me and I mean no disrespect to Chester Bennington, but this is a pretty glaring error. He was born in 1976. This is an instance where transposition is inexcusable. Didn’t someone actually look at it before it was sent out?
Once again my favorite news station gives me some material. The weather person realized the mistake, but couldn’t do anything about it. I’m thinking the temperature was supposed to be 60 degrees, but I guarantee the temperature shown is not a beautiful Arizona Spring day!
A friend sent this to me. Unfortunately, it is part of the City Clerk’s webpage for the City of Apache Junction here in Arizona. Apache Junction already has a not-so-great reputation in the Valley of the Sun, but it is my current home. I’m not sure how this actually got published as it is a hot mess.
“No 1”? Really? I assume they mean “No one is allowed.” Six words later, they are breaking the Gregg Reference Manual rule on spelling out numbers from one to ten unless the number needs to stand out to be comprehended or is in statistical information. I don’t consider that sentence statistical information nor do I think that the numbers need to be used instead of the words to be comprehended. Then, the comma after “jurisdictions” should be a semicolon since the sentence is two independent clauses and the comma could be replaced by “and.” It could also be two separate sentences, but the way it is written is confusing. Come on, AJ, you’re not doing your reputation any favors!
One of the blog readers had a great question on the last post about numbers. I should have made it clear that in legal agreements and pleadings, using both words and figures for numbers leaves out any doubt about what number you are talking about–UNLESS there is an error in either the word or the figure version of the same number, so proofread those numbers carefully. For instance, when stating an amount of money, number, or a percentage in a legal document, you should write out the amount in words and then include the figures in parentheses.
Buyer agrees to pay Seller the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) upon the signing of this Agreement, fifty percent (50%) of the remaining balance thirty (30) days after the date of this Agreement, and the entire remaining balance sixty (60) days after the date of this Agreement.
When you use both words AND figures in this way, it is absolutely clear and leaves one less thing to be litigated later. Thank you to Kim for asking the question to allow me to clarify.