Tag Archives: spelling

the worst place for a typo

I wanted to post this story on Facebook to comment on the utter absurdity of a (tiny) cover model not fitting in her dress, but I can’t get past the hideous typo in the headline. People, if you proofread nothing else, check the headline!


commonly misspelled names

I had an epiphany last month while we were closing M: Most of the misspelled names I catch while proofing are seemingly easy ones.

It makes sense if you think about it. I reviewed 30 Rock actress Jane Krakowski’s album, and you better believe I double-checked her last name before turning it in. But when Sara Bareilles mentioned her first producer, Eric Rosse, during our recent interview, it didn’t occur to me until my last read-through to verify his spelling. I heard “Ross,” so I wrote that without a second thought. (Meanwhile, every time my eyes scanned over “Bareilles,” I was making sure I hadn’t transposed the e and the i.)

I find more last names misspelled, but oddly enough they’re often ones also used as first names: Elliott/Elliot, Philip/Phillip, Stacy/Stacey, Damon/Damen, and of course, my personal peeve, Neal/Neil. Since “creative” spellings are becoming a trend in baby naming, I predict even more headaches for copy editors in the years to come.

So, the takeaway: Check every name during proofing, no matter how obvious. And give those deceptively simple names a little extra attention.

a dixie chick still can’t get respect

I double-checked three times that it was the Wall Street Journal I was reading when I spotted this error. The Dixie Chicks banjo player and Court Yard Hounds lead singer is Emily Robison, not Emily Robinson. And this is no one-time typo: It’s spelled wrong in both occurrences in the post, and in the caption. It’s especially bad because Emily took her name from her ex-husband, Charlie Robison, who is also a very talented country/Americana recording artist, as is his brother Bruce. This is why country has a chip on its shoulder, folks.

just for laughs

If you made it through my three novel-length posts this week, congrats! You are a truly devoted reader, and I appreciate it. I didn’t mean to frontload the week with so much heaviness, but it just sort of turned out that way. So let’s have a couple chuckles, shall we?

  • In what she called a ‘great metaphor for show business,’ actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame yesterday — but her name was misspelled. The mistake was caught by a CNN copy editor on his way to work, and you can see in photos of the official ceremony that it’s been temporarily fixed. The Walk of Fame has promised Dreyfus the chiseled-out typo as a souvenir.
  • Country singer John Rich is quite a character around these parts, and I appreciated this sign guarding his controversial property in Nashville, both for the typo and the (hopefully humorous) misunderstanding of the Constitution. (via the Tennessean)
  • Finally, my friend Caitlin passed on a hilarious layout via Fail Blog. What do you think — honest mistake or a joke that unfortunately went to press?

Update: I just got the nicest email from David Daniel, the CNN producer who saved the day, who says, “My story has been reprinted in many places, but I’m honored that a fellow copy editor would find it worth including.”

    quick tip: hors d’oeuvres

    This post title is kind of a misnomer — I wish I had a tip to remember how to spell the phrase we pronounce “or-DERVS.” I have to look it up every time. The proper spelling is hors d’oeuvres.

    Actually, my tip is to use “appetizers” instead.

    typo tuesday

    Last week I saw a fantastic production of The Color Purple as part of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center Broadway series. (And if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I’m incredibly excited about the line-up for next season.) TPAC puts together a nice magazine-type program for each show, but I cringed at this typo in the Publishers’ Notes. Don’t be proud, publishers! Let someone proofread you!

    stationery spelling

    Every summer during college, I diligently worked at Papyrus, a frou-frou paper goods store at the local mall. So I was mortified when I took a spelling test for my first job after college (generally a requirement when you’re applying for a copy editing position) and missed the question about the difference between stationary and stationery. I memorized this hint and have relied on it ever since.

    If you’re referring to paper goods that you write letters on, the correct spelling is stationery. Remember that by thinking “e for envelope.” If you mean standing still, use stationary.