Sunday, August 11, 2013

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

…then what are words worth when they’re put in the hands of people who misuse and abuse them?

Here is a nice collection of goofs and gaffes for your enjoyment (or heartburn).

1. From an online tech article:

At this sage, the image renders normally…

2. Here’s some helpful advice (or not) to keep crooks from breaking into your car:

That duffel bag with you smell gym clothes? Police say thieves may spot it and break into your vehicle thinking it contains a laptop.

3. Last week a bear walked into a bar in Estes Park, Colorado. A local resident had this to say:

 “I guess nothing seemed palpable so he just kept going.”

“Palpable” means able to be touched or felt. “Palatable,” which is the word this fellow probably intended to say, means pleasant to taste. In all fairness, I’m not sure who got this one wrong. Did the person speaking choose the incorrect word, or did the reporter?

4. Here are two gems from an otherwise engaging story about a local researcher who studies a rare owl species:

He scrambled to catch her - she was still looked dead

(Yep – just like that. No punctuation.)

…(he) stalked off to search the dead birds' mother, following her defensive calls.

(How about searching for the bird?)

5. From the crime beat:

Police said one of the dog's with the man…

(One of the dog’s what? No apostrophe is required for plurals.)

In this case, police were looking for a car:

… with very heavily tented windows. 

(“Tented” is not a suitable substitute for “tinted.”)

6.  From a story about a large propane plant fire:

Arial footage of the scene showed fires burning over a large area…

(“Arial” is a font. “Aerial” means in the air.)

7. Disasters bring out the best in people, but the worst in news coverage.

…She stayed the night at a friend's house before returning to a horrific site.

Okay, technically this could be correct. The site of the damage undoubtedly looked horrific. But the correct word choice here is “a horrific sight.”

Caked in mud 111 inches high after a surge of debris breached her windows and front door…

111 inches equals nine feet and three inches.  Since the interior walls of the house shown in the photo accompanying the story were only about 6-1/2 feet tall, I’m going to say that the writer meant to say 11 inches high.

8. The mathematical errors don’t stop there.

Headline says “Two People Missing.”

Three names are listed.

Even worse, two different TV stations made this mistake!

8. Another one from the crime blotter:

The victim reported that a man took the item for sale and pointed a handgun at them. The victims was then told to leave the area.

(Single noun with plural pronoun + plural noun with singular verb = grammatical headache.)

9. In a world dominated by coffee, some terms are so commonplace that spelling shouldn’t be an issue. And yet:

…a big mocha with five shots of expresso

10. And last, but certainly not least:

Weather map shows 0.04” of rain fell in a particular area.

Weatherman says, “About a quarter of an inch of rain fell…”

Not even close, dude.

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