— Get Thee to an Editor

Red pen alert: Writing mistakes

Apple Maps has received a lot of flak for its many bugs and deficiencies. So when a typo-ridden and near-illegible story about Maps ran in Yahoo! News, it could almost pass as a parody of the hapless app.

Unfortunately, the Madlib-style frequency of missing words was no joke:

Yahoo News article

On further investigation, Mr. Clark Estes is not to blame. It seems that his original Atlantic Wire post had none of these issues, but Yahoo! went the extra step of removing all anchor text when they cleared the links.

Thanks to my friend Brock to snagging a screenshot of this, since Yahoo has since cleaned it up after a slew of criticizing comments. (My favorite: Is this article missing every other word, or am I supposed to use my Cap’n Crunch decoder ring?)

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Remember when I posted in “An Editor’s Holy Grail” about the most satisfying mistakes for an editor to catch? Yes, finding a typo in a dictionary ranks pretty far up there, but in that case, I just happened to stumble upon it without setting out to find one.

When it comes to Time magazine, however, I have been a faithful cover-to-cover reader for more than six years with hardly a grammatical or syntactical error to show for it. That is, until recently.

In the past several issues, I have seen not one, but THREE typos in the print version of Time magazine. Unfortunately one of them got sent to recycling before I took a snap of it, but the other two are preserved for infamy. (If you’re curious, the non-photographed one said “mount” instead of “amount.”)

Here is my photographic evidence:

Ironically, the first one came from Time’s Wireless Issue–and I used my cell phone to capture and upload the incriminating photo.

Note to Time and anyone else: Contact me if you need someone to make sure your content arrives at its audience in perfect shape!

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How is Anerica different from America?

  • Northwest corner of Washington state has seceded to Canada
  • Alaska got tired of being cold and moved to the Gulf of Mexico
  • Hawaii is the new Cuba
  • Acne problem


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I’m visiting my parents this weekend in their small Kansas hometown. It’s so small that things like the school lunch-menu offerings get their own articles:

Newspaper headline typo

“New Menues, More Choices” indeed, but the choice between spelling the multiple of “menu” as “menus” or “menues” shouldn’t be one of them.

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I recently went to see my friend and her brand-new baby in the hospital, and this sign caught my eye. If you’re going to mistakenly put a question mark at the end of an imperative sentence, you might as well go all out and make it three question marks. As they say in Texas, go big or go home.

funny hospital sign

Somehow this doesn’t inspire confidence.

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Most newspapers follow AP Style, in which the subject just goes by his or her last name on second reference, without a first name or honorific. But The Daily Mail used Mr. in this article, which led to an interesting typo. Perhaps mentioning Paul Ryan’s six percent body fat inspired some covetous feelings in the writer…

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Here’s a cringe-inducing headline typo in the Detroit Free Press, as seen on JimRomenesko.com. Yikes.

Headline typo


On a side note: If you work in journalism, Jim Romenesko’s blog is a great industry-insider read.

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Seattle University’s Office of Graduate Admission got carried away with vowels and misspelled their own name on the envelope. Luckily, grad students are all too sleep-deprived to notice.

grad school

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This caused lots of confusion in the office this morning. Both screenshots were taken at the same time:


Note to CNN: Faster isn’t always better.

I would like to be a fly on the wall at CNN’s office this morning. Though, as my friend Andy said, “Even their flies are getting fired.”

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Either brilliantly purposeful irony or terribly sad: You decide.

I came across this photo today as I was searching Google Images for gold-star clip art to send to a writer whose story didn’t need any edits. This should tell you two things:

  1. Stories without mistakes happen so rarely that they merit special clip-art searches.
  2. There’s a neglected kindergarten teacher deep down inside me, longing for opportunities to award gold stars and then make a picture frame out of glue sticks, construction paper, melted crayons and glitter.

On a side note, kindergarten is one of those words that if you stare at it too long, you become convinced it’s misspelled. What a messed-up, interbred-mongrel language we speak. Kindergarten.

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