Where’s that red pen?

Posted in Life by Elizabeth on August 20, 2010

A couple weeks ago, a few of us were chuckling (while vigorously nodding our heads) listening to Jeff Deck on NPR.  For all those wordsmiths, editors, and grammar lovers, Jeff Deck and his friend, Benjamin D. Herson, were a breath of fresh air.  They traveled the country with a sign editing kit correcting errors from misspellings to superfluous apostrophes.  They’ve published a book on the project that I plan on purchasing.  I have a feeling that reading about their corrections will somehow help me sleep better.  Though I’m sure their journey has not stopped with this book publication, I think it should be a message to us all – always have a red pen on hand.  This morning when I checked the weather on my weather website of choice, I was confronted with an advertisement that made me laugh.   Though writing “awk” on my computer screen does not do much good, it’s a start!

break out your checkbooks!


3 Responses

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  1. Sarah said, on August 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I love this. Leave it to the editor to want to write “awk” on her computer screen! 😉

  2. PETER FORNEY said, on August 20, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    “awk” you have adds on your post.

  3. steve said, on August 28, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    agree with the message “always carry a red pen.” although, not only to correct misspellings. why not add, subtract, do true editing while we’re at it? one could argue that many misspellings actually add a little flavor. for example, there is a restaurant around the corner from me called “markt.” obviously an intentional misspelling. we see that all the time — catchy way of remembering the name. would not want to see them coaxed to adding the correct vowel by red-pen police. and kind of like the “ireland on sale”, cute and catchy. off kilter sells.

    and a misspelling could be just downright classic, or colloquial — adding regional flavor, even if non-intentionally. i’ve collected a couple of immigration forms for mexico, the ones they hand out on the plane, where there is a box to check whether you are a * mexican resident or * forighner. now why would anyone want to correct that? and take away some worthwhile chuckles?

    and attacking grammar, i.e., superfluous apostrophes, thats like heading down an endless path. (errant apostrophe below). but i guess there is no shortage of red pens. and, the message has value — think before you make a sign, not the other way around. and if its the other way around, then watch out for the red pens. (second errant apostrophe below).


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