Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Typo On Jersey University Web Site

The Scarlet Typo

It’s not a huge mistake, but it’s a mistake nonetheless. And it appears on the Web site of a respected university. On the Rutgers University football team’s History Capsule (1973-present) page a typo exists after the third word in the second line. There is a space lacking in the run-on word “teamsrecognized.” Since that word doesn’t exist in the English language, the copy should read “teams recognized for fundamentals and defense.”

Evidently, the page’s writer, editor, maybe a copy editor or two, the Web designer and those in the football and athletic departments, who have presumably read the copy, have all missed the typo. Again, it’s not the most egregious copy error Proofreader has ever seen, but it does appear in the second line of the article. It’s not like the mistake is buried somewhere deep in the midst of the team’s late 20th century history. It’s right up top, in the paragraph about coach Frank Burns rebuilding the team, for all potential recruits to see (not that the recruits necessarily care; but the school and, maybe, alumni should).

As for the likelihood of the mistake being caught/fixed in the short-term, it’s not nearly Rutgers University’s or the football program’s biggest problem right now, so don’t look for the mistake to be corrected anytime soon.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hoboken Government Poor Spellers

At least "Hoboken" is spelled right

The Proofreader’s maiden post points out the above sign, one of at least four like it, on Constitution Court in Hoboken, New Jersey. The signs serve to warn residents of the hazards of pet waste and inform citizens of local law, but their copy is written with poor spelling and sloppy use of a hyphen. As you can see in the highlighted picture above, the sign features a misspelling of “pursuant” in the phrase “persuant to chapter 93” and it sports an unnecessary hyphen in the phrase “clean-up”

The Proofreader consulted various online resources and was unable to find “persuant” as an alternate or accepted spelling of the word pursuant anywhere in the English language. MSN Encarta, The American Heritage Dictionary, Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com all concur that “p-u-r-s-u-a-n-t” is the correct spelling of pursuant. So, it’s definitely a mistake. Interestingly, on Hoboken’s Web guide outlining city regulations for dogs and other animals, the word is spelled correctly (PDF) at least three times. As for the hyphen in “clean-up,” The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage advises “Do not use hyphens…when the meaning is clear without them.” And in this case, the phrase “clean up” would be perfectly clear; the inclusion of a hyphen is unnecessary.

Moreover, a Google search of “persuant” turned up results pointing to numerous misspellings of the word, mostly by individuals on personal blogs or message boards, which isn’t a very big deal. However, two examples should raise eyebrows. One in which yet another government agency, on the other side of the country, misspelled the word on its Web site…at one time (pictured below). But the department, which boasts a phalanx of attorneys who should know how to spell pursuant, has since corrected the gaffe.

The search also turned up this one, which features a misspelling of the word in a headline, from what appears to be a companion Web site of MoneySense, “Canada’s leading personal finance magazine,” a place that should have Microsoft Word and/or a sufficient supply of professional editors available to catch blunders like this before they go to print or get published online.