Friday, December 12, 2008

Copy Mistake In Times Caucus Blog

Fully in accordance with the slogan here, "Pointing out all manner of printed mistakes that shouldn't have been made," this post brings a copy mistake on The New York Times "The Caucus" blog to your attention. The Proofreader is by no means picking on The Times. Honest.

The error, highlighted in the screen shot below for your convenience, occurs in a post dated December 12, 2008, titled "Sorry, We're Booked, White House Tells Obamas." Kindly scan down to the only line of the third paragraph. It reads, "It remained unclear who on Bushes guest list outranked the incoming President."

"Bushes," plural, should be "Bush's," singular possessive. Or, if "Bushes" is referring to the entire Bush family, then the article "the" should precede it and the proper, plural noun should be made possessive so it reads "Bushes'" or "Bushes's." Yeah, that surname is extremely annoying for writers.

In addition, the last word of the sentence, "President," should probably not be capitalized. According to The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, "President-Elect" should be capitalized, as it is earlier in the blog entry. But "president" should only be capitalized if it's immediately followed by a name or "in a first reference to the president of the United States." This is a weird one, because President-elect Obama was referenced several times earlier in the article, but that instance is the first to reference him as "incoming President." It's something of a gray area which could've been avoided by simply referring to Mr. Obama as "the President-elect" rather than "incoming President" because, technically, he's not the president.

As you can see in the above screen shot, the post was made at 1:11 p.m. and then updated, but not corrected, at 3:12 p.m. As of this writing, the mistake still appears on "The Caucus" blog. However, a similar article appearing in The Times' December 13 edition and online is free of the errors.

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