Monday, October 22, 2012

A Chronicle of Errors

John, a reader who submitted a birdbrained typo back in 2011, noticed multiple errors in a photo caption on SFGate, the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle. He was curious if I could spot the same ones. Well, here's what I found, John.

Three of the errors I'd label glaring. 1. Misspelling authorities at the start of the sentence. 2. Omitting an s at the end of resident. (Or failing to insert the word a before resident, if it was but a lone resident involved in the search.) 3. Failing to add an –ing to the end of cling.

Those are just the biggies. Here are some of the other errors I noticed:

 There is no need to use continue and continues in the same sentence. It's redundant. I would have reworded that portion to something along the lines of "Authorities and residents continue to search for a burglary suspect who is hiding in the tall brush..." or "Authorities and residents search for a burglary suspect who continues to hide in the tall brush..."

Eastern should not be capitalized. When terms like this indicate compass direction, lowercase them. Capitalize them when they designate regions or are part of a proper name. (Examples: the western end of the island; a Southern accent; the Eastern Shore)

How about putting an in between Hill and San?

Ca. is not correct. The caption writer should have used the abbreviation Calif. If he or she wanted to use the two-letter postal abbreviation, it should have been CA, with no period. The best approach, however, would have been to forgo any state reference. San Francisco is a well-known city that requires no state reference in datelines, body text and so forth — especially when it appears in a San Francisco-based publication!

A comma is used to separate a day of the week from the rest of a date, so the writer should have inserted a comma after Wednesday.

When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, the year must be set off with commas. That means we're missing a comma after 4.

One short photo caption, nine errors spotted. Did I miss any, John?

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