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Tripped Up by a Typo: Five Real-Life Examples [Slide Show]

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110916-01. Intro
It's bad enough when you notice a typo in a tweet. But what if a sloppy error ends up on a billboard, in a menu, or above the front door of your business? Copywriters Simon Glickman and Julia Rubiner curate an entertaining collection of grammatical disasters and other printed goofs in the "Not Our Clients" section of Here are a few samples—each of which makes an excellent case for fanatical proofreading.
110916-02. It's or Its?

It's or Its?

In this most common of errors, retailer Sports Chalet flubs an ad for the "Action Pass" rewards card by using it's—a contraction of it is—rather than the possessive its. Beware: This careless switcheroo—much like misusing there/their/they're—is a major pet peeve of customers who care about English.

110916-03. The Wrong Word Altogether

The Wrong Word Altogether

Somehow, the marketing team, the printer, and the retail employees of fashionable clothier Diesel all managed to miss the obvious mistake in this already-clunky line: "It's Painfully Hot To Loose Your Shades Once In A While." Errors like that hurt credibility more than most because they look and sound wrong.

110916-04. The Homonym Trap

The Homonym Trap

This banner for Friendly Donuts makes a homonymic mistake by announcing "We All So Have Food," when it clearly means "We Also Have Food." That type of cringe-worthy goof suggests that your company is run by high school dropouts. But, note Glickman and Rubiner, it doubles down with flawed semantics: Aren't donuts food, after all?

110916-05. Blanking on Your Name

Blanking on Your Name

The copy for this ad—from a legal firm that specializes in intellectual property—doesn't make embarrassingly egregious errors. You won't, for instance, find misspelled words or bad grammar. But you also won't find "Reising Ethington"—the advertiser's name!

110916-06. The Unnecessary Apostrophe

The Unnecessary Apostrophe

In this example, a car dealership fell prey to an affliction that seems especially widespread in SMB marketing—the unnecessary apostrophe: "All New Kia Come's With 10 Years Or 100,000 Miles Warranty." That error typically occurs when marketers misunderstand the plural form of a noun.

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Christian Gulliksen is a writer who has authored several of the Get to the Po!nt newsletters for MarketingProfs. A former editor at Robb Report, he has also contributed to Worth, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter.

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  • by Jean Fredrick Fri Sep 16, 2011 via web

    The sad reality is that alot (joking....I know it is spelled "a lot") of people make these same spelling errors but do not know they are incorrect -meaning the "loose" instead of "lose" and "it's" when it should be "its" etc.
    I think our society has lost a lot of ground in basic spelling and grammar - even among PhDs! I have professors who will respond to a "thank you" with a "your welcome."


  • by Michael O'Daniel Fri Sep 16, 2011 via web

    I'd be willing to bet the donut shop is owned by someone for whom English is a second language. The others have no excuse.

  • by George P Fri Sep 16, 2011 via web

    So which of those six is not a real life example?

  • by Hello Tue Sep 20, 2011 via web

    It might be nice to actually point out where the mistakes are - all aren't that obvious.

  • by Michelle99 Tue Mar 26, 2013 via web

    It's too bad these businesses spent money and ended up with embarrassing mistakes. As Jean Fredrick said, it's also sad many people don't realize there's a mistake...including customers. Since I have a degree in English and have always loved words and writing, spelling has been a pet peeve of mine for years. It's nice to see some real life examples of why knowing grammar and spelling matters. And I still use online spell checkers or refer to my dictionary. I'm not immune to the lazy language trends, text speak, typos and just plain forgetting how to spell something. :-)

    While we're on the topic, has anyone successfully countered the argument we don't need live proofreaders because of the grammar and spell check on Word and the stand alone grammar check programs available?
    I point out that a person can determine context better than a program. At least better than the ones in Word and Outlook.

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