Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Typo I Just Noticed

A typo in a newspaper is there for a day and then it's gone. A typo in a book is hidden when the book is closed. Even a typo on a billboard can be pasted over or just redone. The typos I love best are in metal (or neon) because they're usually so expensive to redo that they are allowed to live on forever. Or else, and worse, no one ever notices. The eye usually sees what it expects to see. That's why proofreading is so hard--so hard that practically no one does it anymore depending on spell-check which is, at best, 50% effective. Spell-check is useless with homonyms.

Looking through some old photos today, I came across this sign which is at the entrance to the Magee Marsh boardwalk, one of the great bird migration spots in North America. Take a read: (if you click the photo, the picture will open up larger in another screen).

Find the typo yet? I'll show you in a minute, but first I want to quibble with the grammar. The definition of "premier" is "first in position, rank, or importance." So something is either "premier" or it isn't. It can't be "one of" though it seems to be a common phrase and like many common phrases, it is a non sequitur. Like "unique," "premier" shouldn't be modified.

However, the howler is below:
I'm sure the swamp had abundant waterflow (which would be two words so even spell-check would have picked this one up) but the word they were trying to set in metal is waterfowl. When I took this picture, the sign had been there for about 12 years.

Only today, just glancing at the picture, did the word pop out at me. It is a curse carried over from 30 years in the printing business where I was always looking for mistakes--mine, the customer's, or the vendor's. I think when I read the sign originally, I was dwelling on the idea of a swamp the size of Connecticut and my eyes moved along the rest of the lines without really reading. And besides--it ain't my job anymore!

Addendum: rereading the sign yet again, I find that the verb should be "scattered" not "scatter." Well, Ohio has bigger problems than grammar and spelling.

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