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I thought it might be fun to post this as we get ready to head into the Annual Contest later this year.
I am an author, an editor, and a proofreader. From time to time, I come across sentences that do not make any sense to me. If I have to read a sentence in a manuscript more than one time, that usually means it’s either too long, too run-on, or somewhat mixed up. Sometimes, the sentence make me laugh (but I’m sure the author I’m editing for did not intend the sentence to be funny). It’s a case of word order that makes the sentences sound outrageous.
Just the other day, I found an old list I’d kept of true-life “bloopers” that made it into official print form, from writers and authors who definitely should have hired a proofreader before letting these headlines and other funny bits go to print. I think I would be out of a job as a proofreader if I missed any of these mistakes below.
- Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter (for real! When the person who brought this to the editor’s attention, it took him two or three readings before he realized this was impossible)
- Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half (Yikes! It’s the Chainsaw Massacre all over again!)
- Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says (No, really?)
- Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers (Now that’s taking things a bit far!)
- Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over (What a guy!)
- Miners Refuse to Work after Death (Those good-for-nothing’ lazy so-and-so’s!)
- Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant (See if that works any better than a trial.)
- War Dims Hope for Peace (Yes, I can see where this might have that effect)
- If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile (Ya think?)
- Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures (Go figure!)
- Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges (You mean there’s something stronger than duct tape?)
- Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead (No commentary needed.)
- Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands. (I wonder how much the ladies will get for them.)
- From a school cafeteria’s meals for the week: Friday: honey-mustard chicken diapers with dipping sauce (are the diapers for the chickens or from the chickens?)
- HUNTERS! Please use caution when hunting pedestrians using walk trails. (I wonder if they need a hunting license for this.)
- From a Burger King sign: Sponge Bob is here hiring managers. (I wonder who he is hiring to flip burgers.)
- From a warning sign about no parking: Violators will be towed and find $50. (Oh, please, may I?)
- From a presentation about world hunger: The average North American consumes more than 400 Africans. (This is not an ethical way to deal with overpopulation)
- And this last one for the modern, cell-phone user. A sign before entering a certain establishment: NO CELERY PHONES (How annoying it must be to stand in public talking into your veggie phones. This practice must be banned!)
If you have found any proofreading blunders that tickled your funny bone after reading it, feel free to share below in the comments. We could all use a good laugh.