The perils of typos (part 2)

Part 1 of Typos discussed different types of typo and ‘fat-finger syndrome’ and gave an example of an embarrassing and expensive mistake from the seventeenth century – a misprint in the Bible’s Ten Commandments. Next we will look at instances where there are no spelling errors as such, but the choice of words can lead to some amusing results in newspaper headlines.

Astronaut takes blame for gas in aircraft
Not sure where the gas leak is from!

Couple slain; police suspect homicide
Sounds rather obvious

Deer kill 170,000
Was it a deer cull or massacre by man-eating deer?

Drunks get nine months in violin case
A solution to overcrowded prisons perhaps?

If strike isn’t settled quickly, it may last a while
Again, sounds obvious

Juvenile court to try shooting defendant
Again, a solution to prison overcrowding

Killer sentenced to die for second time in 10 years
As the film title says, You Only Live Twice

Local high school dropouts cut in half
Sounds a bit drastic!

Miners refuse to work after death
I would probably feel the same

New study of obesity looks for larger test group
It sounds like they are looking for super-obese people now

Red tape holds up new bridges
Must be strong tape!

Squad helps dog bite victim
Sounds like the dog is not up to the job and needs help

Two sisters reunited after eighteen years at checkout counter
That is some checkout queue; haven’t they got any self-service tills?

Typhoon rips through cemetery; hundreds dead
Weren’t they dead already?

It is not only what you say but the way that you say it! When reviewing text that you have written remember to pay close attention to the headings as well. Clearly this was not done in the above examples.

But it is not only headlines that carry unfortunate wordings – the same can apply to adverts:

Illiterate? Write today for free help
There are times when a phone call is better

Auto Repair Service. Free pick-up and delivery. Try us once, you’ll never go anywhere again
Clearly a firm that is going places

Wanted. Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink
Good to hear the country has clean-living livestock

For sale: 83 Ford Grandad
Must be the restyled Ford Granada for the more mature driver

Children shot for Christmas in the home
For that large gathering when a turkey is not sufficient

Dog kennel, suit medium-sized dog. Good condition. Very turdy. Buyer collects
Ugh. No further comment required

Lady, 65, reasonable looks, medium build, likes short walks, outings, the occasional drunk
You can’t be too fussy when you get to 65

Posted in: publishing

Tagged as: ,