Why Copy Editors Aren't Useless

Or—how did this thing ever get to market? Or into print? No, I mean really?

Categories: Engrish | Just Bad Copy Editing | Unfortunate Word Juxtapositions


(For more in a similar vein, visit Engrish.com.)

In 2008, you can buy a Senior Netbasket for $1 at the flea market (like this one) and be amazed at how luxurious and cleaning it is as it filtrates warter.
WireBasketWireBasket label top
WireBasket label bottom
In 2007, the Global Economy continues to holdout for long time the dynamical assurance (as this product card clearly states). Handset Shake
Back of the same card. Of coutse it's understandable that perhaps someone transcribed "of course" into "of coutse", and "insert" into "inscrt", and even "adapter" into "adopter" (which is a tough call anyway) and not even native English speakers always get "etc." correctly (it being not native English anyway). But the imagination soars over "(sub-skirts)".

Oh, and the rest is just a good read.

(Thanks, Bobbie and Ken.)
Handset Shake
Christmas decor used to be a trove of fun information. From a candle holder I bought probably in the early 1990s.
Very nice. A what? Probably mid-1990s. Pecutting board
For metal tent poles, date unknown; '80s or '90s. Don't you wish you could stay your tightness? Well, all I can say is at least they got the right form of "its". Partial text: Still stay its tightness.
The back of a hose nozzle card, bought in 2002. The age of the global economy. Good thing you already know how to use one of these puppies. Text of instructions: Tactile with PVC tube, water bottle, faucet and fasten the other point with water resource
Too bad someone got around to telling this web site that its English was a little lacking. It was much more entertaining in the version you see here, from June, 2003. Although it does still tell you to give your cat a big hub. Very badly translated web site
How dusty is your family? Another flea-market-vendor treasure, November 2004. I bought the duster for $1 just so I could bring this one home. I particularly like how they can spell a word correctly and then, 5 words later in the same sentence, misspell it (can/cane). The random omission of spaces between words gives me hope that innovation still thrives in the English language. Text on card (in part): It applies to family to remove dust, such as household appliance...

Just Bad Copy Editing

Sprint forward to April, 2004. The hose nozzle industry is apparently grimly determined that they've got a better grip on the English language than any costly and self-righteous copy editor. Plus now they've got spell checkers. (By the way, contrary to what you might believe from a quick glance at this card, this was NOT made in America.) Bought this from a discount vendor at the flea market. Wonder why it was there? Text on card (in part): Six patter meta trigger nozzle...Smooth action tigger, fist all garden hoses
Oy! is right. Someone was paying attention (finally), because later editions eliminate the typo.

Unfortunate Word Juxtapositions

Don't you wonder why a man who was already injured was seeking a street brawl?(San Jose Mercury News, May 15, 2007.) Newspaper headline: Tougher sentences needed for framing innocent people
San Jose Merc, November 4, 2002: Most people prefer parrots-- Newspaper headline: Man dies in crash with big rig on shoulder
This one gave me pause: Are we not doing a sufficient job of framing people by arguing their cases with wimpy syntax? Is our vocabularly weak? What sort of sentence would be tough enough? Perhaps "If youse guys don't frame dis here guy, youse going to find out da meaning of da woid 'tough'."?(San Jose Mercury News, December 8, 2005.) Newspaper headline: Tougher sentences needed for framing innocent people
June 10, 2008