The following examples of illiteracy or barbarism were all encountered in the past two weeks.  I wish I could stop noticing such things.  Or even, dare I say it, stop getting bothered by them.  But I say, old chap, WE MUST HAVE STANDARDS!

First up is a stand at the Irish Antique Dealers’ Fair.  Presumably a Mr Yeat is somehow involved, but I’m not sure why he claims to own the country.  They surely don’t mean W.B. Yeats, and the part of Sligo associated with him?

Next is a greeting (sic) card, of the smutty variety.  The humour is somewhat spoiled by the failure to distinguish between “effect” and “affect”.  This is a common enough howler, I suppose, although it’s slightly depressing to see it writ large on a product which presumably went through many hands and took a lot of effort in its production.

Similarly, another blogger called Pencil&Spoon did a posting on a beer bottle label which was full of spelling and punctuation errors.  I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting liberally, as what he has written echoes my thoughts on such matters.

“What makes these mistakes especially frustrating is that the front of the label has obviously been well-designed and lots of effort has gone into it …. Even the paper it’s printed on is of a high quality. For this level of design and detail it must have passed by a few people and for none of them to spot those errors is just not good. As the front …. looks bold and well designed, I feel some confidence that the beer will also have had the same effort put into it. The shoddy spelling on the back makes me think again. ….I know some people aren’t good with spelling and grammar, I understand that, but there’s always someone around to take a look at it and check it…..Breweries: please try not to make spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes on your beer labels. …Even a small typo can send the message that you are sloppy and careless.”
Next up, when I saw the mass of warning signage and verbiage on a simple pool air mattress (we used to call them “lilos”), I became all nostalgic for the good old days when we were not treated like idiots and when judges didn’t entertain ridiculous personal injury claims by people who obviously qualify for the Darwin Awards (which “salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it).

From today’s Irish Times, another eggcorn:

Forget what the ads for cleaning products would have us believe, bacterial micro-organisms are crucial for our wellbeing …… The human body is a busy place teaming [sic] with alien life. Right now there are about 100 trillion micro-organisms inside you, tiny creatures that are living, dying, feeding, fighting, multiplying and happily occupying your inner space.

Not as classic an eggcorn as the last one I flagged, but yet another howler from Tara Street.  And they got the spelling right later in the article, which almost makes it more annoying.

We used to mock the Greengrocer’s Apostrophe, where simple plurals were adorned with a redundant piece of punctuation (such as “Twelve apple’s for €3”).  If that wasn’t bad enough, two years ago I started to spot an even worse solecism: the use of an apostrophe in the third person present tense of a verb.  The first hair-raising example I spotted was in an advertisement in the Sunday Tribune T2 section on 13th September 2009, where we were told that “The Gate Theatre Celebrate’s [sic] Friel”.  The Irish Times joined in the fun last year in its TV listings for 15th June,2010 where we were informed (in relation to a World Cup match) that “the likelihood of another shock look’s [sic] slim”).

Today I received an e-mail from AIB Global Treasury Services informing me that “Euro Edge’s [sic] Back From One Month High”, reproduced below.

It’s bad enough that our taxes are being used to keep these people in their well-paid jobs.  The least they could do is avoid grammatical or punctuation howlers in their communications with the outside world.  It  reminds me of AIB chief executive  Colm Doherty’s misuse of the word “Fulsome”  last September.

I had hoped that my previous public sighting of a stray apostrophe in a verb present tense was a once-in-a-lifetime horror (see this post, where we were alerted that “the Gate Theatre Celebrate’s [sic] Friel”). 

But the TV listings in today’s Irish Times suggests that this (laughable if it weren’t so tragic) solecism may actually be developing into an outbreak.  See below.  For God’s sake, if the once-great Irish Times doesn’t have a competent editor or proofreader on its staff, I suggest that they give me a call and I will do it in my spare time. 

Where will it all end….?

Warning: stupidity ahead

2 March, 2010

Here’s another instalment in an occasional series of shocking spelling or grammar in public signage or the media. This photo was taken recently at the entrance to a public car park near Christchurch in Dublin.

What’s funny (and depressing at the same time) is that a large corporation drafted, manufactured and issued an important sign that was by definition intended for public consumption, and failed to correct a blatant spelling mistake.

There must have been dozens of people who interacted with the wording of the sign between the time of its initial drafting and the date on which it was erected. It is positively bizarre that nobody intervened to correct the howler.

If I were an executive in the car parking company involved, I would have made sure it never saw the light of day. This would apply even if I was of the view that spelling didn’t really matter as along as the meaning is clear; for I would know that there are many people out there who believe that spelling does matter, and why should I annoy even a minority (if it is a minority) of customers?

Indeed why even run the risk that a few people will assume that such carelessness is indicative of a wider carelessness in the management of the car park, and therefore avoid it in favour of a car park where there is a slightly better chance their car won’t be damaged or stolen?

Bizarre or what?

3 December, 2009

Maybe this is a fancy foreign spelling.  Or maybe whoever drafted, proofed and printed these signs actually thought this was the way to spell “bazaar”.  Or much more likely, they weren’t absolutely sure, but didn’t care.   

It’s one of life’s little mysteries that despite access to Google, online dictionaries, spell checkers and good old-fashioned books made from dead trees, an increasing number of people have only a vague interest in ensuring words are spelt correctly, or indeed that any message they are trying to convey in writing can be readily understood by readers.