Archive for the ‘Typos’ Category

Planning at an abstract level

October 4, 2012

Yesterday, writing a postcard (by hand), I intended to quote an old (and not particularly good) dirty joke with the line “How far is the Old Log Inn?” in it, but started writing

How far is the Old Logg

when I saw the error, crossed out Logg and went on with Log Inn.

The error? I’d anticipated the double N in Inn, transferring it to the G of Log; “doubled letter” was part of the plan.


Dubious ad

January 24, 2012

An ad that appeared on my Facebook page this morning:

Ultimate Infidelity Test

Womans Panites & Mens Underwear Tested To Expose Cheating Partners. 100% Accurate & Indisputable

Just a typo — TI reversed to IT — but the error doesn’t inspire confidence in a product that looks dubious to start with. (It offers semen detection and DNA testing.)

Reversals of adjacent letters are in fact very common in handwriting and typing; LINGUSITIC(S) for LINGUISTIC(S) is so frequent that I no longer collect examples of it, and then there are:

Manhattan Calm Chowder
out of the office toady


December 1, 2011

The beginning of Tom Friedman’s op-ed piece in yesterday’s NYT:

Israel is facing the biggest erosion of its strategic environment since its founding. It is alienated from its longtime ally Turkey. It’s archenemy Iran is suspected of developing a nuclear bomb. The two strongest states on its border — Syria and Egypt — are being convulsed by revolutions. The two weakest states on its border — Gaza and Lebanon — are controlled by Hamas and Hezbollah.

Five occurrences of the possessive form of the pronoun it here — four spelled correctly (its), plus one it’s. The spelling is corrected on-line (here). The mystery is where in the editorial process it was introduced.

Granted, this mis-spelling is incredibly common, and for good reason, but it’s odd that it came up in the middle of a forest of its correctly spelled (two before it and two after it). Maybe the preceding it is, with auxiliary is, that could have been contracted to it’s played some role in the event. Hard to know.


The context of danglers

October 1, 2011

What follows is an abstract for an academic conference (explanation to come) on “dangling modifiers” in context. This is only an abstract, with a 200-word limit and no space for a bibliography (though I’ll add two items below).


Portmanteau cleverness, plus drama kings

August 2, 2011

Recent portmanteaus that were intended to be clever: Ocularpation, male-odrama.


Prounced balls

February 10, 2011

In writing to friends about my posting on Harry Baals, I repeatedly wrote

Baals prounced balls

with PROUNCED for PRONOUNCED, an omission error in which I “skip ahead” from the first O in PRONOUNCE to the material following the second (leaving out NO). This particular typo — using typo for inadvertent spelling errors in handwriting as well as typing — has plagued me for years; I have to think carefully about spelling PRONOUNCE.

The effect of skipping ahead is to telescope the spelling of an expression. I’m prone to telescoping, for instance GAY MALE telescoped to GALE (in typing, 11/9/09) and GAY PORN telescoped to GORN (in handwriting, 1/10/11).

Then there’s the case of WITHE for WITH THE, which I reported on on Language Log in 2008.