If you notice this notice…

By Legal Eagle

…you’ll notice this notice is not worth noticing.

This story made me laugh. It concerns the tale of two frustrated creative writing students on a mission to save the US from bad grammar. Unfortunately, the tale ends in tragedy:

A campaign by two grammar vigilantes to correct mistakes on signs across America has come to an abrupt end after they were charged with vandalism for trying to rectify a spelling error at the Grand Canyon.

The founders of the Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL) have been banned by a court from correcting any publicly owned signs after trying to correct one on the Desert View Watchtower that, for seven decades, has drawn attention to an “emense westward view of the Grand Canyon”. Oblivious to grammar, the prosecutors pronounced the sign “a unique historical object of irreplaceable value”.

Yes, I do get very irritated when I notice grammatical and spelling errors. And I also get an almost irresistable urge to go up and correct them. For example, I was at a cafe the other day, and I saw that the menu advertised “rissotto”. I had to turn my back to the chalk board so that I couldn’t see the mispelling any more because it bugged me so much. However, I don’t think I’d go so far as to amend 70 year old signs at the Grand Canyon – it’s just asking for trouble. Perhaps they could have just put an addendum at the bottom of the sign instead?

19 Comments

  1. Posted August 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Nice story. I have great difficulties with typos and mistakes in menus myself – I once noted a restaurant in Darling Harbour was offering “spackling wine’. Presumably it’s the stuff you drink when you’re plastering the bathroom. And I assume you intended the addendum to be put at the bottom of the sign, not the bottom of the canyon. Sorry…

  2. John Hasenkam
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I used to get annoyed by grammatical errors etc but a few years on the Internet cures that. It can be annoying but at the end of the day the meaning matters more than the words.

  3. A. Atomou
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Nah! Rip the bloody sign off!
    Violence to a language should a capital offence!
    Seventy years of idolising an error! Ruddy ‘ell!
    I once exhorted my students, as an exercise in “the respect shown by people of their own language” to walk into shops that had errors in their signage, watching especially for the apostrophe boo-boo. For a good month, the students went around the suburbs, entering the shops and asking the owners if they could correct their signs. We had lots of fun discussing the responses given by those owners. Some were very… badly phrased!
    Amazing though the amount of resentment to being corrected.

  4. Nanu
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I think I’ll stay out of this one given that I’m a cereal offender. 😉

  5. Nanu
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    The worst part is that I thought italics were necessary…not only do I make a bad pun, I insult my audience! 🙂

  6. Posted August 26, 2008 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    There’s a cafe in Dandenong that sells ‘Cafe Late’. Not sure if it’s a comment on the speed and efficiency of their service…

  7. John Hasenkam
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    From a psychological perspective it is intriguing as to why people get upset over grammatical issues. Be amused, everyday we are all stumbling over our cognitive errors, we all hold erroneous beliefs and strange ideas, we all have habits of mind that make us slip into silliness.

  8. Posted August 26, 2008 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I like emense. It’s kinda bigly, in a canyonish kinda weigh.

  9. Posted August 26, 2008 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Let’s sincerely hope Homer doesn’t find this thread.

  10. Posted August 26, 2008 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    One can imagine my distress at coming downstairs one morning to discover the head chef had corrected the entire chalkboard menu with the following:

    main’s
    dessert’s
    chip’s
    potato’s
    kid’s
    meal’s
    carrott’s
    steak’s
    sauce’s
    plate’s (I am NOT making this up)
    chef’s
    special’s
    price’s
    wedge’s
    seafood basket’s

    in response to subtle queries I he replied that he had fixed the spelling as he couldn’t stand one more day of looking at the errors with the S.

  11. Posted August 27, 2008 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Tim, I hope their premises are not adjacent to a graveyard?

    I have never heard the Dandenong markets described in such a way before!

    Can’t remember the location exactly. I think it’s two blocks away from the markets.

  12. Posted August 28, 2008 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I get much less upset than I used to about errors – now I feel mild irritation or even amusement rather than impotent rage. Mind you, for years I worked as a proofreader, and then as an editor, so maintaining the rage helped me through many a tedious text. But as to why we let ourselves get upset I have no idea. Why would it feel almost like a personal affront when someone misuses grammar???

  13. Posted August 31, 2008 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Many errors of others can be amusing. Like ‘cafe late’, or a notice I saw outside a Thornbury store last night setting out the

    BUSSINESS HOURS

    Hours when the most buses turn up????

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