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Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
"Raleigh was even allowed to grow the exotic plants he brought back from the countries he discovered in the Tower garden."
He discovered countries in the garden?
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
"Enter your sever credentials."
I used to edit a lot of end-user computer books, and I trained myself to look for these two misspellings, which would creep in past Spell Checker:
"Manger" for "Manager"
"Sever" for "Server"
And don't get me started on "Pubic" for "Public"!
Just for fun, let's put them all together: pubic sever manger!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
"He took everything that he found immediately to the Lost Property Office."
This adverb--"immediately"--needs to be redirected from the Lost Property Office to the Office of Correctly Placed Adverbs. Right now, it seems to be describing how the man found everything, but it should really be describing how he took everything:
"He immediately took everything that he found to the Lost Property Office."
Thursday, September 23, 2010
"The skies the limit."
Hmm. This is not meant to be a pattern: "the" and a noun; "the" and a noun. This is supposed to be a cliche: "The sky's the limit."
Use neither, please!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Is this phrasing correct? "Each of the last two years..."
That's evenly divided. When I first read this, I did a double take, thinking it was wrong, but then I looked it up, and dictionary.com says this: "every one of two or more considered individually or one by one," and it gave the example "a hallway with a door at each end." This example is talking about a hallway with two ends, and "each" is used. I therefore think that "each of the last two years" is correct, though wordy. "Both years" would be more concise.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
"As someone who isn't trained as a designer (but who has worked with many designers over the years, and knows the benefit of great design), the following advice is going to sound paradoxical, yet..."
I always cringe when I read poorly written writing advice on a writing Web site. Shouldn't these publishing people know better?
This sentence came from a piece on Web site design, but still.
Here's the problem:
"As someone.... the following advice..."
Is "the following advice" someone? I think not.
Watch your misplaced modifiers, people.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
"...a parking lot florescent..."
This snippet describes a light in a parking lot. I know that it's odd to stick a "u" in there, but "u" know it's necessary:
By the way, "florescence" means "the act, state, or period of flowering; bloom," according to dictionary.com.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
"Now a mom to a young child and a wife, she ..."
This makes it sound as if she is mom to a wife! Interesting thought, but her daughter is only two! If you switch things around, the sentence will not be funny:
"Now a wife and a mom to a young child, she ..."
Monday, September 13, 2010
Is this sentence correct? "He admitted to the shooting in the police interview."
Congrats to 69% of you. The sentence suggests that someone did a shooting during a police interview. That would be interesting! We need to rewrite!
"When police interviewed the suspect, he admitted that he shot the victim."
Friday, September 10, 2010
"The main dirt toad..."
Good thing I wasn't drinking anything when I read this. Otherwise, my laptop would have become soaked with liquid spewing from my laughing lips.
Um. That would be main dirt ROAD, guys.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
How it Works
One of these things is not like the others!
There are two common schools of thought about the capitalization of heads:
1) Just initial cap everything.
2) Initial cap everything except articles (like "a" and "the") and short prepositions (like "to"). Prepositions at the end, however, get an initial cap (as is done in "Sign Out").
In case you're confused, I'm harping on "How it Works." Although "it" is short, it's not an article or a preposition. If you're following school of thought 1, then "it" should be capped. If you're with number 2, same result. There is no school of thought 3, where short words stay lowercase.
When you're deciding which way to go, pick the way you like and be consistent.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I thought, yippee! The last alert of the night. Well, no. It was an alert about the scores of baseball games that were over. I guess some would see "Final Alert" and avert their eyes if they didn't want to know.
This isn't wrong, but it did give off the wrong impression, I think.
It might have been better to say something like "Completed Games: Scores Coming Now." A bit long, I know. Any other suggestions?
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Is something wrong with this? "That alone makes this book a worthy read to check out if you have an interest in Japan, ex-patriots, or writing."
Congrats to 79% of you. An "ex-patriot" would be someone who used to be a patriot. Someone who is living abroad is called an "expatriate," or "expat" for short.
Friday, September 3, 2010
I was happy to help her. Here's what I said:
These choices would be correct though not ideal:
Sally's and my relationship
John's and your vacation
Recasting the sentence to avoid these awkward possessives works best:
the relationship between Sally and me
the end of vacation time for both John and you
I hope that you's and your three-day weekend is fun! (I mean, your weekend!)
Thursday, September 2, 2010
From a Web site:
"[It's] something with strong enough themes that would warrant book club discussion, but still has the readability of more commercial fair."
That should be "fare," which means something offered to the public. It also means food, as in "Asian fare."
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
"How does it feel to be in the hole, so to speak, Mr. Krabs? Not well, I suppose."
Nope. It doesn't feel good, Mr. Krabs.
The idiom here is "it feels good to such and such." You would never say, "It feels well to such and such."
For a useful discussion of "I'm good" vs. "I'm well," check this out.