Category Archives: Misspells, Misusages, Mistakes

Egregious Use of Comma


Spied for sale in one of those “notions” areas of a department store.

If I were responsible for this egregiously unnecessary and meaning-changing comma, I’d want to be anonymous as well.

Then again, I suppose they might have actually intended it as written — as an exhortation rather than a description of what teachers actually do?


My Favorite Mistake (So Far)

You may have noticed the silence around these parts. I’m very sorry to say that I’ve been absolutely buried at work and that it’s likely to continue for some time, and it’s been overwhelming and exhausting already and I’ve only had enough energy to read the kinds of things I have nothing to say about.

A huge contributing factor to my workload lately is that the standards that govern a large part of what I do for a living changed last year (to be implemented this year). At one point in my career that might have been exciting, but eleven years’ eye-opening experience have colored my glasses with tones of cynicism.

So I hope you can picture my glee, when toiling away last night with my new book of standards in hand, I came across a spelling error in the “guiding literature” governing these changes:


It’s “occurrence”!

It was the sort of thing that made me want to happy dance my way out of the office yesterday evening and drink umbrella drinks. Because that’s just inexcusable. Basic word processing software should have highlighted that as an error, not to mention the fact that being able to correctly identify “occurrence” as an assertion is Auditing 101, and getting it spelled correctly is probably Copy Editing 101: both skills I’d expect the purveyors of these new standards to have more than mastered.

Notes of Meringue


I for one would like to harangue Trader Joe’s until they correct the spelling of meringue on their chardonnay.

Actually, I wouldn’t. I’m not one given to haranguing; I was just swept up in enthusiasm for the idea of juxtaposing words which end in the same sound spelled differently. More likely, as enchanting as “notes of lemon meringue” sound in a chardonnay, I’ll refuse to try it until this spelling travesty is corrected.

C What You’ve Been Missing

I spotted this on my way out of work the other day.

One of several electric vehicle charging stations.

One of several electric vehicle charging stations.

I work for the local utility company. Its principal business line is electricity. This is one label you’d really expect them to get right.

Author’s Note: When I was young, one of the occupations I thought of pursuing when I grew up was that of editor. It seemed like the second-best thing to writing books, really. As a solid speller in my elementary days, and possibly notorious in college for rewriting everyone else’s paper sections in those dreaded group papers, I suppose I thought I’d be good at it. Given my staunch preference for the Oxford comma, the only publication whose policies I feel I could enforce with any personal integrity would be the New Yorker, and I’m pretty sure they’re not interested in hiring a hopefully-former accountant / unemployed librarian as an editor or fact checker (although I believe I make a very good case for the attention to detail required for success in auditing predisposing me to excel at those jobs, and that’s not even touching on my of-old avid enthusiasm for the Oxford comma and — more recently — the dieresis).

A while ago, my sister suggested I start a series on my blog of misspells, grammatical errors, and other editing failures, committed by those who ought to know better. I dedicate the series to my sister, who suggested it, and a certain professor in grad school whose attention to our grammar, punctuation, and adherence to any style guide was excruciating. This is the first of those posts. If you’re a fan and want to see more, let me know in the comments!