Thursday, August 21, 2008

Everyday I Have the Blues #7

That little gem is from the e-mail newsletter “Back to School All-Category Savings Spectacular! Up to 60% Off!” from August 19.
Everyday I Have the Blues #6

Sometimes Spellcheck is your friend.
Add creative inspiration and a love for trends and brand indentity, and you’re on your way to forging breakthrough ads.
“Copywriting: Mastering Ad Writing. Break into advertising,” e-mail from

This was the pullquote they used:
Before taking this course I knew nothing about copywriting now I know how to take an idea and turn it into a great ad.
--Latrice Harris

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Everyday I Have the Blues #5

Typos don’t really count as wince-inducing but this one is too amusing not to pass along.
It is also the most ambitious classical music offering to date at Le Poisson Rouge, a new Greenwich Village club started by a pair of still-practicing classical sting players intent on presenting music of every description.
Can’t you just see Robert Redford on violin and Paul Newman on viola, playing the Maple Leaf Rag?

The Listings: Classical: Opera: “The Coronation of Poppea,” by Allan Kozin. The New York Times, p. E21, Friday, August 15, 2008.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Everyday I Have the Blues #4

When I read today’s sentence my first reaction was “Didn’t anyone read this?” And it’s possible that there wasn’t time to read the story, just run it through the grammar and spelling checker. Spellcheck is a great thing, but it won’t save you if you don’t know the difference between “there” and “their,” “your” and “you’re,” or “a device that fits inside or around a garment for hanging from a hook or rod” and “a covered and usually enclosed area for housing and repairing aircraft.”
A vibrant 55-year-old, Ms. Olsen is coming to terms with the unceremonious end of her fashion career — as the windows of the last remaining stores were papered over last month and the stock sold at discounts of 70 percent, including the hangars — at the same time she is starting over as an artist and entrepreneur.
“Her Forced Retirement” by Eric Wilson. The New York Times, G1, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Everyday I Have the Blues #3

I tell people not to use “comprise” unless they have the proper training and permit, but do they listen to me? No, they don’t. They just go right on and embarrass themselves in print anyway. This is from sign-on instructions I received the other day from the human resources department of one of the biggest banks in the world.

Step 1 Begin the Sign-on Process.
* Enter your standard ID on the single sign-on screen.
* Enter your default password, which is comprised of:
* The first three characters of your Standard ID
* The last four digits of your Social Security number or national ID number.
et cetera

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Everyday I Have the Blues #2a and 2b

I know, I know, it’s not really fair to spotlight goofs in The New York Times. They work under a daily deadline and there aren’t enough copy editors to give the copy a good going over. However, my criterion is the wince factor and these two examples supplied a good wince apiece.
Mr. Medoff said he hoped that people would read the comic and agree. “There’s a certain amount of ongoing pressure, but it’s been so far not efficient to make the authorities bow.”
“Comic-Book Idols Rally to Aid a Holocaust Artist” by George Gene Gustines, p. B7, Saturday, August 9, 2008

Did Mr. Gustines transcribe the interview poorly, did he misread his notes, or can we blame the editor for transforming “sufficient” into “efficient”? I can’t say but the quote doesn't make sense as it was printed.

(Mr. Kraus said he was germophobe when it came to the subway.)
Jamie Bishop/Christian Kraus wedding announcement, Sunday Styles p. 16, Sunday, August 10, 2008

Just what did Mr. Kraus say? That he was a germophobe or that he was germophobic? Maybe the editor couldn’t make up her mind, or maybe she doesn’t know the difference.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Everyday I Have the Blues #1

This is the first in an occasional, though possibly daily, series of posts featuring English usage that makes me wince. Spotlighting these won’t make the world a better place, I know, but they deserve to be shared.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Membership News, the lead sentence in a story about the horticulturalist at The Cloisters:
Even in a city of more than 8 million residents, Deirdre Larkin easily has one of the most unique jobs.