Jul 11, 2010

English Oopsies

by Marsha Ward

I seem to have found a pattern for my blog posts here. I have no idea how long my focus on errors in written and spoken English will last. Just bear with me (that "bear" is in the context of withstand or endure).

My intended subject for today was exploring more words mistakenly used for the correct ones, but something I saw on Saturday just blew me away, and I'll share that with you, instead.

Go look at an online news article here. Read it carefully, with an eye for mistakes. Then come back and tell us in the comments how many oopsies you found.

The errors that caught my eye were egregious (I love that word, which means remarkably bad or flagrant). For a news report on a timely, but not urgent, subject, you'd think the writer could make fewer mistakes in only 191 words. Clearly, no editor proofread the effort before it was posted. I tremble for the state of the English language if, indeed, an editor passed this report through with an okay!

List your error finds in the comments. I'll update this post later, and compare yours with what I found.

What I found included five errors in word usage, spelling, and punctuation. I didn't address the truth of the reporting.

Here's what I found. Good for those who found more!


on hand


  1. encouranged - does this mean excitedly crazy? encouraged/deranged

    lisence - I'm glad the word driver was in front.

    onhand - How do you pronounce this?

    That was bad. I know how meticulous (I spell checked that one) I try to be when I write something that others will read. I would be mortified if I was that reporter. Having said that, if Cecily saw any of my articles come to her like that, I would probably die. Then again, maybe she has and I don't know about it:)

  2. I noticed "lisence" first. I found the ones mentioned above. At the end it says "people will become American's." It was just a use of plural not posessive. Also, there were areas I would not have punctuated the way the author did. Help me catch my mistakes.

  3. It isn't just the grammatical and punctuation errors that annoy me in this article - who's instead of whose, and the others already noted - but it's the frightening reality of media bias. This article is illogical, poorly written, and full of factual errors as well. It does not enlighten and clarify; rather, it confuses the reader and perpetuates spurious information. It seems to be based on rumors rather than genuine research into facts. According to the AZ law, people can be asked for papers only after they've been caught in the act of committing a crime. As I understand it, the federal law which is not being enforced is even stronger, allowing law officers to stop people merely on suspicion and ask for papers. Furthermore, signing people up as legal residents doesn't give them an immediate right to vote. It takes some time to achieve citizenship, which grants voting rights. In my opinion, the real story here is that somebody is lying to illegals who want to become legal. Egregious is the perfect word to describe the poor reporting as well as the poor writing.

  4. I found 10 but that doesn't mean there wasn't more. And yes my guess is no proofreader or editor saw this. It went as was written.

  5. Lisence, Onhand, American’s. Obviously there were more, but I was getting a headache trying to read and re-read sentences that didn't even make sense. Ouch!

  6. Unbelievable. The writer of the article didn't even use spell check. I caught only 4 the first time I read through...then read comments here (cheating, sorry) and read it again. I always miss the punctuation errors. Wow.

  7. I counted 13 errors the first read through and missed encouranged. You'd think they would have edited it by now.


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