Monday, July 30, 2012

Brotherly Love

In a college basketball game with family bragging rights on the line, Fairfield University's Ryan Olander faced his younger sibling, Tyler, of the University of Connecticut. The brothers were on opposite sides in an organized game for the first time, and Round 1 went to Tyler's Huskies, who won by eight. In his postgame interview, Ryan was asked about his younger brother and said he still loves him as ... what? I'm confident Ryan said much, not mush. He loves Tyler, sure, but he's not about to get all mushy about it in a locker room!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Summer of My Discontent

Today's post, much like a McDonald's cheeseburger, can be consumed quickly. It will not, however, lead to indigestion.

The image at right is from a full-page ad touting healthier Happy Meals. That is appreciated, McDonald's, but summer need not be capitalized. Lowercase summer, spring, autumn and the like unless they are part of a proper name or formal title. Some examples:

My mother loves fall colors.
The Fall 2012 semester begins in two weeks.

I loathe winter weather.
I'm going to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

In the spring, I look forward to the hot, hazy days of summer.
I attended the Tempe Spring Festival with Summer Sanders.

I hope this helps to clarify the issue. It's open season on improper capitalization. Hunt for misuse.

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Fall" Fell Out

Well, I don't know if I'd categorize it as "a big wrong," but it is most definitely wrong. Thanks to Mike, from MovieShotsLA, for e-mailing me the image at right. Why did the ESPN writer fall short of getting elected to the Hall of Fame? Well, look closely at the fifth word in the sentence. Here is an instance in which a person would have welcomed being labeled a fall guy. Alas, the caption writer was a fell guy.

The editors at fixed the mistake (as you can see below), but not fast enough for it to go unnoticed by When Write Is Wrong and its readers. Thanks again, Mike. Without you, today's error might have fallen through the cracks.

Friday, July 20, 2012

An Age Discrepancy

Connecticut Post
USA Today
One story. Two papers. One woman. Two ages.

I noticed these two articles in different papers on the same day. In the AP story, which appeared in the Connecticut Post, the woman who was horrifically burned to death in an elevator is described as a 64-year-old. In the USA Today article, however, the woman has mysteriously gotten nine years older.

I've heard of ages in stories being a year off or being accidentally transposed (46 instead of 64, for example), but this one has me stumped. My guess is that one of these ages was given on initial reports before being corrected.

That closes the news portion of today's post. Before I bid you adieu, however, please permit me to editorialize. I'll be brief.

I hope Jerome Isaac burns in hell for what he did.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What Goes Up Must Come Down

If this enterprising 10-year-old doesn't make any sales, it's likely because no one has heard of ballons. Granted, I'm not familiar with Afghan culture. Perhaps ballons are as ubiquitous in Kabul as, say, balloons are at an American child's birthday party.

Monday, July 16, 2012

This Post Is Titled "Stop Incorrectly Using 'Entitled'!"


Oh, sorry, did you hear that? That was steam coming out of my ears. Here's why:

In its "125th commemorative issue," Sporting News referenced a book it published called Best by Number. In doing so, Sporting News used a word in a way that never fails to get me steamed. So, I'm having a hissy fit. Go figure.

If the smartest person in the world does something wrong, that doesn't make it right. If a billion people do something wrong, that doesn't make it right. If the editors of dictionaries allow entitled and titled to be used interchangeably, that doesn't make it right. We already have a word that means titled. It's ... drumroll, please ... titled!

Despite growing trends and popular opinion, the hardcover book Sporting News published in 2005 is not "entitled Best by Number." It's "titled Best by Number."

Use entitled when you need a word that means a right to do or have something. Do not use it to mean titled. I'd say you're entitled to use entitled as a substitute for titled, but I just can't. I won't.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Rookie Mistake

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had 10 rushing touchdowns in his first 11 NFL games, breaking the single-season rookie record for a quarterback. Vince Young, who rushed for seven scores as a first-year player in 2006, held the record before Newton.

At the time of this article, Newton was on pace to break the single-season record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback — not just rookie quarterbacks.* Steve Grogan holds that distinction; he rushed for 12 touchdowns in 1976, his second year as a pro. Grogan's mark is a 35-year-old record. It is not, as stated in this article, a "35-year-old rookie record."

Oh, well. Perhaps the writer was in his first year as a pro. With more experience, rookie mistakes like this will be a thing of the past.

* Newton did break the record. He finished with 14 rushing touchdowns in the 2011 season.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I've Got a Grade E Beef

In a story about grade-altering allegations in Connecticut, the New Haven Independent got it right. (See image below.) A bit was lost in translation, however, when CT News Junkie linked the story to its site.

If you fail to shimmy an e in before the hyphen, the story takes on a new meaning. We go from an article about tampering with transcripts to an item about transforming magna cum laude individuals into summa cum laude graduates ... or something like that.

CT News Junkie dropped a letter when compiling its headline. For that, I must drop CT News Junkie a letter grade. I'm changing your grade because you changed grade.

Thanks to my friend Abby for sharing this typo. You get an A for effort, Abby.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thought of the Day

Here's a thought: Insert to between supposed and be.

My work is done.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Web of Lies

Well, it's not a web of lies, per se. It's one lie, and it was told unintentionally. Still, hardcore comics fans reading my blog as they wait in line to see The Amazing Spider-Man on opening day will Marvel at this secret-identity revelation.

In the Spider-Man photo caption you see here, USA Today got the wrong "fat cat." The Garfield we were after is Andrew, not James. The latter Garfield was the 20th president of the United States. His middle initial was A, though it stood for Abram, not Andrew. James Garfield was assassinated while in office in 1881. He's been dead for more than 130 years, which makes donning the famous red-and-blue costume quite challenging. If he can pull it off, he'd be truly Amazing.

No presidential debate is needed: The friendly neighborhood hero behind the red, webbed mask is Andrew Garfield, an actor best known — until today, anyway — for his role in The Social Network.

Oh, what a tangled web you've weaved, USA Today. But your silky deception failed to escape my spider senses.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Terrible Ms. Take

If I were playing the word-association game and someone said "Ms. magazine," my response would likely be feminism. It's the heart of that publication, which began in December 1971 as an insert in New York magazine.

The magazine's rise in the early '70s coincided with the fledgling women's rights movement, and it provided a place where feminist voices could be heard. And, in the middle of 1996, it provided a place where glaring errors could be seen.

Ms. magazine may have helped to shape contemporary feminism, but it also did its part to set the movement back by spelling that very word incorrectly, in large letters, smack-dab in the middle of its May/June 1996 cover.

This classic blunder surely will go down in history. Or herstory.