Friday, 27 December 2013

Grammatical rules for writers

With time to kill during the holidays, you might like to brush up on your writing skills.


Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

Avoid cliches like the plague. They're old hat.

Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.

Be more or less specific.

Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

No sentence fragments.

Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.

Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

One should never generalise.

Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

Don't use no double negatives.

Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

One-word sentences? Eliminate.

Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

The passive voice is to be ignored.

Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.

Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.

Kill all exclamation marks!!!

Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.

Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forward earth-shattering ideas.

Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.

Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.'

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.

Puns are for children, not groan readers.

Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

Who needs rhetorical questions?

Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Writeres should always chekc thier speling.

Apostrophes' in the wrong place's annoy your reader's.

Keep your writings concise and to-the-point. I mean, you shouldn't ramble. It's really annoying. Really, nobody likes someone who goes on and on, paragraph after paragraph, and never seems to get to the point.

Monday, 23 December 2013

The 12 Typos of Christmas

For the final post before Christmas Day I've gone completely festive with a YouTube collection of typos from xthankmyluckystarx.

As she admits, she can't sing but hats off to her anyway for putting them all together.


Back on Friday with more holiday fun.

Meanwhile, have a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Tell it like it is

It's been a while but we're back in Peterborough today with another peach.

And another photo featuring Jon C's reflection.


When it comes to publicity for the Peterborough Women's Centre, perhaps the Women's Language Group should try being more assertive.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Take my hand

Thanks to Greg L who points out that, even after his death, Nelson Mandela still has a knack of bringing people together.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Marry in haste

If you've not seen Bad Ink, it's all about overwriting seriously bad tattoos with better ones.

As it's that time of year, I thought I'd get into the spirit with one that caught my eye.


Perhaps he just wanted Nina to make him happy this Christmas.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Oxford blues

OK. Where's the one place you'd least expect to find a typo?

An academic institution perhaps? A university probably.

And, out of all the universities in the world, which is one of the most prestigious?

The University of Oxford?

OK.

But then, which department within the University of Oxford would be particularly careful about checking its use of English?

Even more so than the Faculty of English.

Ah yes. The Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics which, as it proclaims on its website, specialises in the study of the structure and history of languages, the evolution of language, and speech.

Well, I hear you say, if that Faculty has produced a typo, it's hardly surprising given that many of the concepts it researches on a daily basis are very complex.

So, the word which yields the typo must be some sort of complicated, highfaluting technical jargon, yes?

Er, no.

It's the word students.


Yes, students. The word which gives rise to the Faculty's existence. The word which portrays its very lifeblood.

And it's not as if the website has been lying unread for an age.

It was updated on 9 December. That's last Monday.

So, Oxford, never mind syntax, Proto-Indo-European and glottal stops.

Try a course in writing, reading and checking.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Lifted

At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is just an ordinary lift.


Actually, because it's to be found in the library at Stanford University, we'd better refer to it as an elevator.

But it's not quite what it seems.

According to Jon C, it's the radical new design for Dr Who's TARDIS.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Trust deed

Here in Leeds we consider ourselves very fortunate to have several fantastic hospitals at our disposal in the heart of our city. One of them, St James's, better known to most of us as Jimmy's, is the largest teaching hospital in Europe.

With a name like that, the hospital is very careful with the correct placement of its apostrophe. And I'm particularly pleased that it has never resorted to calling itself St James', although many people do so.

But someone must have taken their apostrophic eye off the ball on this occasion.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Thighs matters

Spotted and photographed the other day at the Spar store in Ringsend, Dublin by Brian Daly and reported in The Daily Edge.


OK, I'll take a pair of silky soft ones with a slight sheen please.

I wonder if they're Pretty Polly's?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Your inconsistency

One of those unsolicited emails that comes along every so often whose sole purpose, or so it seems, is simply to annoy you.


First of all, your inconsistency with your your and your you're is too much to bear.

Let me explain?

You don't actually explain anything. All you do is repeat the headline.

Two products that allows...? Comma instead of a full stop? Its so simple?

Everyone. Really? Everyone?

No, no, no, ProductTesting.UK

Your (or, as you would say, you're) client, Santander: Driven to do better?

Driven to distraction, more like.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Happy Hamukkah

A seasonal contribution today from Janis Ian's Facebook Page via Dennis A.


No one seems to be offering any information about where it was spotted so I'm hoping it's a spoof.

If not, then you're idiots, whoever you are.

And you have so little respect you can't even be bothered to check the correct spelling of Chanukkah.

Friday, 29 November 2013

All is not lost

Thanks very much to Ann F who spotted this in The Yorkshire Post the other day.


Winning with a big fat zero?

What you might call a hollow victory.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Messing with the Taliban

Our regular observer of all things military, Greg L, sent in this one from BBC News.

One which, I think, will have been missed by most people.


You'd think the channel would've written the word often enough by now to get it right.

Rather than the fighter, it's the Taliban that's been wounded.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Lotus disposition

Allow me, if you will, to put you in the picture.

Narendra Modi is an Indian politician representing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). More than that, he is the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the general election to be held later this year.

The BJP's symbol is a lotus flower.

Here's what he tweeted.


Probably not the wisest way to describe your colleagues.

Oh wait. I'm forgetting.

They're politicians.

Friday, 22 November 2013

In the pinc

Thanks to Jon C for sending this one in from deepest, darkest California.

Apparently, you can only enter this area if you're wearing pincnics.


Jon neither confirmed nor denied, but I have my suspicions.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

State of the Union

In and amongst the current talk of independence, you might have heard some people in England say that they would be happier if the other members of the Union were forced further towards its periphery.

Well, this flag, which was hoisted by Manchester City Council above the city's Central Library for Remembrance Sunday last week, provided us with a fascinating graphic representation of such a suggestion.


You'll see that the red cross of St George looks as though it's flexing its muscles against the crosses of St Patrick and St Andrew, pushing them both to the side.

Do you think it was a deliberate ploy by subversive infiltrators at the flag manufacturer?

Or am I reading far too much into a straightforward misprint?

Monday, 18 November 2013

Impulse purchase

Thank you to one of my Facebook friend's friends for pointing out that Asda has finally joined forces with both Morrisons and Tesco by also treating its customers as idiots.


I know it's a little blurred but yes, it does say £2. And yes, it does say 2 for £5.

As Asda's current inane slogan says, 'Saving you money every day.'

Well actually, it's true.

With cynical offers like this I'm tempted to spend no money there at all. Ever.

Not even on impulse.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Ahead of the game

Steven Whitehead plays American football with the Tri-Cities Fever, a team based in Washington state.

It looks like an old school foe or perhaps a disgruntled ex got a job at the TV station.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Double date

There've been so many updates on my phone recently that I can't actually remember which application was responsible for this screen which appeared when I was thinking of signing up for it.

Is anybody else aware that there were two 1953s? The real year and the parallel one.


But which is the real one? And what happens if you choose the parallel one?

Do you enter the twilight zone?

Or your twilight years?

Monday, 11 November 2013

Typing Not Necessary

It looks like the editing team over at TBS has been joined by someone with fat fingers.


That footnote is supposed to say IF NECESSARY.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Bun deal

Ah. Breakfast in America.

The very thought of it conjures up the sights, smells and sounds of sizzling bacon, strong coffee, eggs, fresh orange juice, pancakes, and pastries lightly dusted with sugar and spices.

Unfortunately, Jon C's similar dreams were brought to an abrupt halt the other day when he spotted this delicacy at one of his favourite early-morning haunts.


I'm guessing if he'd eaten one it would have been a tongue-in-cheek gesture.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Salary cap

Tom L knows that some Call Centres can be real sweatshops but this one, which he found on Reed's website, must take the biscuit.


It looks like over 100 people have already applied.

I'm sure Bob Cratchit will welcome these new workmates with open arms.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Friday, 1 November 2013

Losing face

Does anyone else, apart from myself and Jon C, keep seeing this advert on Facebook?


Now, if she really was from London, she'd be a Mum, not a Mom. And, at 200 miles away, do they really think that London is local to me? Or to Jon C who happens to be over 5,000 miles away?

But my main point is no, she doesn't look 25 years younger. In fact, the truth is she looks like a he.

An extremely poorly-Photoshopped he at that. Complete with bushy eyebrows and a dreadfully mis-shaped and incorrectly-sized nose that ends right on top of his lip.

Unless, God help them, that this is actually an example of their work.

But what's even more worrying on a personal level is that these ads are targeted.

Is that the best that Facebook's algorithms can come up with for me?

If so, I'll get me coat.

Or perhaps Facebook should.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Self-denial

MTH is going global. Or, at least, one of its regular readers and contributors is.

Hopefully we'll see many more oddities in Jon C's new Californian surroundings.

Like this, for example, which he spotted on a Solicitor's door in Palo Alto.



Apologies to US readers.

But it does work well in the UK.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Cash and burn

Thanks to Em J for sending in this photo which he found on Facebook.


A £20 fine, eh?

Well good luck collecting that.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Schoolboy error

I can imagine the look of anticipation and excitement on the face of the member of staff at Copthill School who'd been given responsibility for the school's website when the designer suggested having a load of different scrolling images on the Home Page.

Unfortunately, as Jon C points out, the pictures and the links below them don't always work too well together.

I mean, I know that schools are all for promoting diversity and inclusion.

But Our Parents?


I don't think so.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Socksy pictures

Browsing through shutterstock.com the other day, presumably looking for some images to use, Jon C came across this photo of some hand-knitted gift socks.

Only, the translation of the description didn't go quite the way you'd expect.


Now Jon didn't say - and I certainly didn't ask him - for what particular type of image and for which of those specific keywords he was searching. And for what purpose.

We can only hope that socks for Christmas gifts were on his mind.

And nothing else.

Monday, 21 October 2013

S-S-S-Single zed

Portsmouth comes up trumps again with this poster outside a restaurant in Southsea.


I get the triple s to emphasise how the sssteaksss sssound when they're being cooked.

It actually works quite well.

But the poor old z on its own looks lonely and sad.

Not exactly the mood any restaurant would wish to convey.

A good excuse, then, to cheer ourselves up with Noosha and friends.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Sign up

There's nothing quite like a long weekend in Portsmouth for blowing away the cobwebs, enjoying the sea air, walking on Southsea Common,

and spotting paradoxical signs.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Mincing words

We find ourselves back in Jon C's Peterborough where some of the residents are still struggling with the difference between adjectives and verbs.

On a sweltering summer's day, Blacks, the outdoor shop, decided its window display should try to encourage people to explore a different way of life.


So that's why they were all tiptoeing daintily through the trees of Long Causeway.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Jesus freak

Thanks to Dennis A for being the first of many to send this one in.

It appears that none of us is safe from the typo demons; even officials at The Vatican.

This medal, produced by the Italian State Mint to celebrate Pope Francis's papacy, has the word Jesus spelt Lesus.


When you remember that, in Latin script, the word Jesus may be spelt as Iesus, then mistaking a capital I for an L is, I suppose, understandable.

However, considering it's The Vatican's marketing people who are selling the medal, you'd think they'd know not to substitute an L for an I.

Surely they, more than anyone else, would know it should be an I for an I.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Size matters

If you've ever giggled at the mention of Oscar Mayer wieners before, you might like to try these hot-dog frankfurters for size.

Perfect for slipping in between two buttered halves of a warm bun.


Hang on. What length?

Er, that's not what I had in mind.

Honestly.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Ploughman's surprise

Put yourself in Angie J's position while shopping in Morrisons the other day.

There she was, in an effort to eat healthily and look after herself, choosing carefully which low fat yogurt flavour she'd like.

When... Bang.

She's offered four pork sausages or four ploughman's rolls for just one pound.

From Ginsters no less. Such a temptation.


Would you have resisted?

Did she?

She's not telling and I'm certainly not asking.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Consent to differ

Photographed in that internationally-renowned seat of learning, Oxford, by Peter.


Clearly showing the sign writer's lack of concentration.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Illegal entry

According to the Public Access to Court Electronic Records website, the following response was filed last week in Case no 2:10-cv-01618-SRB (District of Arizona).

Now I'm no expert in legalese but I'm pretty sure that this wouldn't get on to the Plain English Campaign's list of acceptable legal jargon.


Clearly the person who filed the response was simply thinking about lawyers at the time.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Received wisdom

TalkTalk is another company which has trouble with the word receive.


Funny, really.

You'd think that, as a phone and TV supplier, it would be talking about receivers all the time.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Catching the Westgate wave

Jon C feels quite guilty about sending this one in.

But, until publishers get to grips with checking their output, they're going to continue to upset people unnecessarily and divert much-needed attention from sensitive issues.

He couldn't quite believe what he was reading on his iPad the other day.

Innocently browsing the news items, he came across this.


I'm guessing that's Lt Col Bill Kilgore leading the troops.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Poop scoop

After Wednesday's trip to Canberra, we're staying in Australia for another sign.

As it happens, a crap one this time.

It was unveiled this week in the small town of Mooroopna in Northern Victoria at the opening of the new police station there.


I wonder if there actually is Moorpoopna Police Station than anywhere else?

Like a pig sty, for example.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A singular mistake

After the recent Australian General Election, the new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, took the controversial decision to include only one woman in his 19-strong cabinet.

So people were not surprised to see that the glass name plate fixed to the office door of newly-appointed Minister Michaelia Cash carried in her title a degree of irony.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Needing a p

Jon C noticed that someone involved with the production of this shop sign in Oxford Street, London not only forgot about the apostrophe in St John's Wood but is also in dire need of a p in West Hampstead.


The journey by Tube from Bond Street to West Hampstead, according to Transport for London, takes about 10 minutes.

They'd better cross their legs.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Hello, sailor

As Tom L says when reading all about the latest Geordie Shore news on heatworld.com, 'They'll let anyone join the Navy these days.'


One thing's for sure.

She'll be going commando.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Killing time

Doesn't anyone at the BBC check anything anymore?

If you were feeling that way inclined, you might have welcomed this opportunity extended by a headline on the BBC News website yesterday morning.


It was changed pretty quickly.

Probably as soon as GCHQ rang up.

Monday, 16 September 2013

I before E

Jon C takes us back to Peterborough today. Specifically to the Virgin Media shop there.

The Manager was doing so well when writing this poster.

'I before E except after C, I before E except after C, I before E...'

Doh.


What's that? Except students?

Must have been giving the Manager too much stick about the spelling.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Katz out of the bag

In only his second week in one of the top jobs at the BBC, Newsnight Editor Ian Katz thought he was sharing his opinions with one of his Twitter friends in a direct message. That's a private message. You know the type. The ones that start with a single letter d.

Katz is a former Deputy Editor at The Guardian newspaper, so you'll already appreciate where this is heading.

Sure enough, he omitted the d, thereby alerting the whole of his 20,000 or so followers, and the rest of the world for that matter, to his private thoughts about his programme and, in particular, about one of its interviewees: Rachel Reeves, the Labour MP for Leeds West and the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.


In just four lines he manages to say in one tweet everything you need to know about him.

Ms Reeves's reply was much more succinct, very funny and summed up her thoughts about him perfectly.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Capital offence

Angie J was horrified to see the name of her country's largest city defiled the other week.


You really mustn't welsh on your spelling, Sky Sprots.

It should be a matter of principality.

Monday, 9 September 2013

It's a fig thing

The football team of the Catholic Notre Dame University in Indiana has a nickname: the Fighting Irish.

Unfortunately, last week's game was partially overshadowed by the fact that the 50oz cups of soda, priced at $8, looked like this.


Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown declined to say how the typo occurred or whose fault it was.

'It's an institutional responsibility,' he said. 'We're not going to be blaming individuals.'

Hmm. I wonder if that's what the person responsible was told while he or she was being rollocked to high heaven. Unless, of course, it was a gaffe by Dennis himself.

Anyway, you may well ask whether it's typical Irish stupidity.

Yet they're the ones selling a drink of pop for $8.

Pin It button on image hover