Monday, April 30, 2012

Reelin' in the Years

Time flies. Where do the years go? It's a rhetorical question ... or so I thought. I've learned where the years go — they go into sentences where they don't belong. You can try to hide, years, but I found you. What are you — and your little friend a — doing taking cover in this quotation? Such intrusion is unbecoming. I seem to tell you that year in, year out, in fact.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Two G Goofs

The graphic you see below is from Sports Illustrated. It's comparing the shifts and productivity of NHL players. (For those who aren't hockey fans, NHL players come on and off the ice frequently during a game. A shift is the time spent on the ice by a player.) According to the chart, Ilya Kovalchuk, for example, spends an average of 60.98 seconds on the ice during each of his shifts. For the season, he has scored two goals and added seven assists.

Now take a look at the totals for Joe Thornton and Alex Ovechkin. What, exactly, are "G Goals"? I've heard of PP (power-play) goals, SH (shorthanded) goals and even GW (game-winning) goals, but not this. To co-opt a hockey term, it appears as if no cross-checking took place. For that, the editor earns two minutes in the penalty box.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An Agreeable Change

AA has its purposes. It can stand for Alcoholics Anonymous. It can identify a row — often a prime, floor-level row — in a theater. It can designate a battery size. It can signify a type of associate degree. It can be used in front of a company name so said company gets listed on the first page of the phone book. Yet it cannot finagle its way into the word seen in these Major League Baseball transactions.

The Mets may perform like a Double-A team at times, but the analogy should end there. We can all agree that aagreed has one too many a's.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Phantom Actress

In 1999 George Lucas brought a galaxy far, far away closer to us once again, courtesy of The Phantom Menace. As any Star Wars fan knows, Natalie Portman played the role of Queen Amidala. What may not be common knowledge to those who aren't immersed in all that is Star Wars is that Keira Knightley played the part of Sabé, a handmaiden who also happened to be the queen's decoy.

Knightley's role wasn't a big one, but it was a pivotal one. In the end credits, however, her first name is misspelled. Instead of Keira we get Kiera. It's an unusual name, sure, but there is no way to justify it being incorrect in the credits. I may not be as wise as old Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I have a few theories as to why this error exists:

  • It was Knightley's first role in a Hollywood blockbuster and came four years before she'd gain worldwide fame as Elizabeth Swann in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, so the spelling blunder went unnoticed.
  • It's not an error. Keira Knightley has a secret twin sister named Kiera, and it was the latter who played Sabé.
  • The person who wrote the end credits was simply following the "i before e except after c" rule.
  • One of George Lucas' CGI editing sessions got out of hand, and the closing credits suffered collateral damage.
  • Jar Jar Binks did it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Not Seeing I to I

What kind of math is this? Is it division? Nope, it's subtraction. Division minus i equals divsion. That, readers, is a math problem — emphasis on problem. Division has three i's. When one is missing? Ai yi yi.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Part of "Part"

Today's example of "writing gone wrong" includes nary a misspelling, punctuation mistake or grammar goof. Can you figure out why I've included it? Hint: It's a style issue. One that leans to the right — and I'm not referring to political views.

Look closely at the third word on the bottom line. Why is the last letter italicized? Italic type is often used for emphasis, but I do not think that is the case here. Italic type also is applied to letters of the alphabet when they are referred to as letters, but is the t more important than the other three letters? Foreign words and phrases that are not widely used in English get the italic treatment, and errare humanum est. Titles of books, movies and the like are italicized, but we're not talking about The Hangover Part II in this case. Italics also can be used for words referred to as words, but I would think all parts of part are equal.

But that's just me.

er•ra•re hu•ma•num est [Latin] : to err is human

Monday, April 16, 2012

What Are You Doing Here?

I was reading an article about the sad sagas at Penn State and Syracuse when this typo caught my eye. We are in unedited sentences now, readers. How else to explain that mischievous article sneaking his way into a sentence in which he is not welcome? Go away, a!

Friday, April 13, 2012

No Ifs

Second paragraph, second sentence, after the dash. That's where you'll find today's simple mistake. A certain two-letter word is missing between even and it. Can you guess which one? If all else fails, I will provide a hint. Don't give up, though. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Uniform Mess

Errors show up on professional sports uniforms from time to time. It's not unheard of for a player's last name to be misspelled. (Hey, you try spelling Yastrzemski correctly!) What's not as widespread, however, is a spelling mistake on the front of a jersey. When a team name is spelled wrong, it's hard to miss.

Such was the case back on April 17, 2009, when the Washington Nationals hosted the Florida Marlins in a Major League Baseball game. Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn, two of the best players on the Nationals, played the first three innings of that game wearing Natinals uniforms. No o. Oh, no.

Adam Dunn (left) and Ryan Zimmerman of the Natinals

Fittingly, the Nationals lost this game in extra innings. The team finished with the worst record in baseball (59-103) in 2009. That spells B-A-D.

Monday, April 9, 2012

That's a Bad Sign

When you sign a lucrative contract, you need to dot your i's and cross your t's. When you use the word signing in a story about a lucrative contract, you need to include all those to-be-dotted i's.

How could signing be misspelled — in the opening sentence, no less — in a newspaper article? The original AP writer didn't notice? No editors spotted it? Seems hard to believe. Almost as hard as it is to believe that a good-but-not-great ballplayer like Freddy Garcia can earn in the neighborhood of $4 million for one year of service. Not too shabby, especially in this economic climate.

Journalism? What was I thinking during my undergrad years? I should have set a course for Major League Baseball. I should have majored in the Majors, if you will. Oh, well.

Signing (with two i's) off.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Confessing Our Spelling Sins

I apologize for the poor quality of today's image. Don't bother reading everything you see in the photo. Focus solely on the last paragraph, and see if you can spot the error.

Did you see it?

I confess that I almost missed it. Almost.

How many s's do we need in confessional? It's an s overload. Think about how many s's would be in Mississippi if we were to go down this path.

And no, there should not be a hyphen between part and confessional. Bonus points if you noticed that.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Omelet Omission

During a walk in the heart of Pasadena, California, my friend Lindsay, of IAMNOTASTALKER, spotted this sidewalk sign. I'm curious to learn what makes Beany's "omlet" original. It must be the spelling. Why did you omit an omelet letter, Beany's? Throw another e into your original omelet. While you're at it, throw in some cheese, diced ham, green peppers and onions. Mmm! I'd fork over $4.99 for that.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Crossing State Lines

Line up, readers. Take a moment and try to spot the mistake in today's image. Hint: You don't have to read a single word to find it. Somewhere along the line, you will notice it.

If you've been reading between the lines, by now you realize the error has to do with a line. In this case, a missing line.

Each issue of USA Today includes an "Across the USA" section with news briefs from every state. Each state blurb is separated by a thin rule, or line. Well, usually. The line between Colorado and my home state, Connecticut, has disappeared. Are the two states having a border dispute? Have they decided to become one state? Connectirado, perhaps. All I know is that a line is missing. That's the bottom line. Too many references to a certain linear word? I crossed the line, haven't I?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Going Over the Common Hyphen Argument

Over dinner at an Italian restaurant in Manhattan last week, a former colleague and I talked about everything from traffic to baseball to cosmetic surgery to, yes, grammar. What started as polite dinner-table conservation rather quickly morphed into a heated discussion about hyphen usage. Rather than toss La Fro Pilo's tasty risotto at one another, however, we agreed to disagree about the following.

My friend April insists companies such as Hormel and Oscar Mayer that sell fully cooked bacon have no reason to be ashamed. Au contraire, April! A hyphen is needed to join an adverb ending in -ly and an adjective. It should be "fully-cooked bacon." I even offered event-specific examples, including "a carefully-planned meal" and "a dimly-lit restaurant."

So, what do you think, readers? Who's right? Oh, wait. You don't have all the facts. Before you make a final decision, you should take a closer look at the first letter of each word in the title of today's post.


And La Fro Pilo? Good luck getting a reservation. The restaurant's name is an anagram for...

April Fool!