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The Great Typo Hunt 416 416

jamie writes "Incensed by a 'no tresspassing' sign, Jeff Deck launched a cross-country trip to right grammatical wrongs. He enlisted a friend, Benjamin D. Herson, and together they erased errant quotation marks, rectified misspellings and cut unnecessary possessive apostrophes. The Great Typo Hunt is the story of their crusade." We have already covered the duo's fight with The National Park Service.

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The Great Typo Hunt

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  • by pgmrdlm (1642279) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @01:42PM (#33217912) Journal
    Another grammar Nazi
  • Typo or ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jaymz666 (34050) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @01:45PM (#33217964)

    NPR really needs to learn the difference between a typo (i.e. a slip of the finger) and bad spelling and grammar.

  • Kind of douchey. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @01:50PM (#33218036)

    Excessive abuse of grammar is frustrating and it can be enjoyable on occasion to correct it, but something about these guys just make me view them as douches. I'm not surprised that it was featured on NPR, of all places.

    Of all the things to obsess over and waste your time "contributing" to in this world, correcting government signs is going to be it? Really?!

  • Sigh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Spoonman (634311) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @01:55PM (#33218126) Homepage
    Language is about communication, it's not about the RULES of grammar. Yes, we have arbitrarily decided rules as to what gets an apostrophe and how things are spelled and so on...failing to follow this rule or that at any given time doesn't often hinder the communication. If someone says to me "pimipin' ain't easy", I get what they said. I don' t need them make sure they put the "g" on the end or use "isn't" instead of "ain't". Thanks to my abhorently abusive Catholic school education, I still cringe when I see someone's written "Thank's for shopping at our store's!", but I don't feel the need to correct them. That would just be douchey. You know...like these two guys.
  • by precariousgray (1663153) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @02:05PM (#33218278)
    Note: it's not a typo if the error was borne of ignorance.
  • by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @02:19PM (#33218500)

    I didn't really count that as part of the benefit, since I have a general distaste for "random guy starts up popular blogspot page and turns it into a book!" stuff. Imagine how much that must piss off a real author with something they're having a hard time publishing? Damn.

  • by natehoy (1608657) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @02:24PM (#33218564) Journal

    If you own a sign, it's yours. You get to alter it, deface it, replace it, do whatever you want with it.

    If you don't own a sign, and don't have permission of the owner or some specific sign-maintaining authority, then altering it is an act of vandalism. Your intent is irrelevant. It's not your sign. Don't like it? Too bad. Offer the sign owner some money to replace the sign with one that is to your liking, and maybe they'll take you up on it.

    There's a really old-looking hand-carved sign at Yellowstone that talks about the dangers of getting too close to critters. IIRC it's near Old Faithful, but it's been about 10 years since I've been there, so my memory might be bad. The wood is well-weathered, the carving is pretty good, and it's obviously a matter of some effort on the part of the park service to preserve it. Unfortunately, it has a single spelling error (reversal of two letters in a word), and there are various correction marks that have been scratched and scrawled into it over the years that really ruin the look of the sign.

    If it's not yours and you haven't been put in charge of maintaining it, keep your markers and tools off it. Please.

  • by magarity (164372) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @02:37PM (#33218748)

    Imagine how much that must piss off a real author with something they're having a hard time publishing
     
    What's the difference between a real author whose book isn't published and a random guy whose book is published?
     
    One of them is a real author.

  • Re:Communication (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phrogman (80473) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @02:40PM (#33218794) Homepage

    Like it or not, I can attest to the fact that I often mentally judge someone by their speech if I am talking to them, or by their spelling and punctuation if I am reading their writing. I am sure I am hardly alone. If they lack the ability to compose a coherent sentence, or the decency to use a spell checker, and have no concept of grammatical formations, then I am inclined to judge them as uneducated, ignorant or ill-informed, and I tend to disregard whatever it was that they were trying to communicate. Now, I grant you that sometimes one might type "Pimpin' ain't easy" for the effect - but the intention is to imply someone who is a lower-class, uneducated and possibly not very bright individual. If you regularly communicate in a similar style, you will look equally lower-class, uneducated and possibly not very bright. In other words, its a matter of communication. If you communicate poorly, you tend to be ignored, and in my opinion whatever you have to say matters less.

    If I am reading forum posts and I come across a post that is utterly incoherent, misspelled, or contains a lot of grammatical errors, I skip it. That person has failed to get whatever point they were trying to make across to me at least, and likely others. If you want to be given attention, and your opinions to be given any consideration, learn to communicate using proper grammar, spelling etc. Failure to do so simply makes you look like an idiot.

    Now, unleash the Grammar Nazis to let me know where I have erred in my post. I tried to be correct throughout, but I am sure I have made at least one mistake :)

  • BS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @02:55PM (#33218994) Homepage

    Consider the missing comma here: "Mary had freckles on her but we liked her anyway." Without the comma, one could infer that Mary's ass was speckled.

    That's nonsense on several counts.

    1. But is spelled differently than butt.
    2. No comma is necessary in sentences like your example. By which I mean you're going to find plenty of examples of excellent writers routinely dispensing with the comma in parallel grammatical structures.
    3. If the sentence was spoken, intonation would make it quite clear what was meant. The pitch on the but would be higher than butt.
    4. Pretty much any argument about "bad grammar" that's based on the ambiguity of a constructed example sentence presented without any context where it would be used is bullshit. Context routinely disambiguates language.
  • by Monchanger (637670) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @03:24PM (#33219328) Journal

    Kind of? More like supremely...

    The sign, a National Historic Landmark

    Really? Is anyone stupid enough to believe a sign could be a national historic landmark?

    No, genius. The sign is attached to the actual landmark, which the sign is about: the Desert View Watchtower [wikipedia.org]. Mary Colter, who painted the sign wasn't an artist but an architect. Facts kind of matter, even when they're about grammar nazis.

    Is it stupid to do their thing on a sign with actual importance? Duh... The thing is nobody but you assumes they did that knowing it wasn't just a poorly-written sign produced by the park service.

  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adonoman (624929) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @03:53PM (#33219766)
    Because it's convention. Why do we use the word "water" to mean that liquidy stuff you find in lakes? Why does "the" refer to a specific instance of an entity and "a" applies to any given instance of an entity? Words have meanings because that's how language works. We use "less" to indicate relative positions on a continuous scale. We use "fewer" to indicate relative positions on a discrete scale. Why? Because that's how it's been done since the 12th century. On the other, English in particular is a very fluid language - use whichever word you please. Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding.
  • by mfraz74 (1151215) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @04:30PM (#33220420) Homepage
    Is the amount of words spelt the American way here in the UK. For example words ending in ize instead of ise, color, tire and gotten.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @04:56PM (#33220902)

    Because sentences verblessness, not real sentence. So not stop needed.

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:02PM (#33222692) Homepage Journal

    Really? Is anyone stupid enough to believe a sign could be a national historic landmark?

    I dunno. A sign, hand-painted 60 years ago by the architect who designed the landmark seems worthy of preservation itself.

    The thing is nobody but you assumes they did that knowing it wasn't just a poorly-written sign produced by the park service.

    Not knowing doesn't reduce the impact of their vandalism.

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