Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Today is simply a collection of mistakes, both recent and from some time in the past. Of recent vintage, I turn to my old friend Spark, the weekly that covers the local entertainment scene; it's always good for one or two miscues. Its last-page photo caption misspelled two simple words in the last two issues: label (spelled lable) and inspiration (insparation). Also, of course, they write "alright" instead of the correct all right. And they still have trouble knowing when to use "then" and "than." 
                  A few years ago, the Brandywine YMCA sponsored a bench press contest. To announce it, they posted signs around the gym and locker rooms that read:  “So you think your strong?  Then take the Bench Press Challange.  See how many repititions you can do.”

            Can you spot two misspellings and an incorrect word?  The word:  Your. It should be you’re.  The misspelled words are challenge (only one a in the word) and repetitions (two e’s and only two i’s, not three).  The signs were created as a word document, so my question is:  Didn’t the writer use spell check?  It would have picked up the two misspellings, at least.

           An invented word I see all the time is ‘nother.  I’m sure you’ve used it.  We all have, in sentences like, “That’s a whole ‘nother subject.”  But it’s not a word.  What we should say is, “That’s a whole other subject.” Or, you can make it “That’s another subject entirely.” The statement doesn’t lose any of its impact, does it?

            Finally, I saw a news report recently that included this statement: “The speaker covered everything from politics to the current business climate.”  Tell me: What is everything between politics to the current business climate?  This phrase, “everything from ___ to ___,” is resorted to by lazy writers and speakers.  About the only time it’s used correctly is this:  “Everything from a to z.”  We know what lies between the first and last letters of the alphabet.  But between politics and the current business climate?  I have no clue.  How about rephrasing and citing a few more examples of what was discussed:  “The speaker covered many subjects, including politics, the current business climate, religion, sports, and macrame.”

            Have questions or comments about anything you’ve seen in the media, or maybe in an office memo?  Let me know.  You can email me at

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