Editing mistakes - typos and factual errors you've seen

I just picked up my copy of “Today in History”, a book put out by The History Channel. It is good for a quick read, as every two pages have info on what happened in history on that day.

I was reading the entries for July 1, and this entry appears for the year 1863: “The largest military conflict in North American history begins when Union and Confederate forces collide at Gettysburg, Virginia.” :dubious:

Ok, they spelled Virginia right, so it didn’t get picked up on the spell check. But how could this basic error have made it through the editing process? (For those that aren’t from the US, or aren’t history buffs, Gettysburg is in Pennsylvania.)

Considering who put this book out, and the fact that even folks who know next to nothing about US Civil War history have heard about the Battle of Gettysburg and know it is in Pennsylvania, I was surprised at the error.

What errors have you spotted that make you shake your head?

I was doing proofreading of a textbook when I noticed the authors had listed the discoverer of x-rays as “Conrad Roentgen.” “Conrad” was his middle name, but all sources list him as “William Roentgen.”

I was only a proofreader, but I put this in a copyediting note.

There was a comic book treatment of the American Revolution – pretty good, actually. But the map in the front page showed West Virginia. Oopsie.

Then there was the wonderful, almost classic blunder, in an old Green Arrow comic book. GA goes to South Africa, and is out in the veldt. He sees a herd of buffalo.

The artist depicted North American Bison.

The letters column, the next issue, was a lot of fun.

I just finished proofing a novel for a friend. Yikes. Over one thousand grammar and spelling errors. Its/it’s, whose/who’s, to/too, lose/loose – the sort of thing a spell-checker won’t catch. Also hellish misuse of commas, just hellish.

“Dialogue.” He said.


He walked to the door, “Dialogue.”

And just tons of two or more complete sentences joined with commas. I put the phrase “semicolon or new sentence” on a keyboard macro, because I used it so often.

Good book, actually!

I’m no one to boast. My first writing attempt, I didn’t know what paragraphs were. I just started writing, and the text smeared down the page without any breaks at all.

(I got better!)

I was watching a documentary on the A-26 Invader and the narrator stated that the dorsal turret, rather than having two *.50 calibre * (.5 inch or 12.7mm) guns was actually equipped with a pair of “50mm machine guns”.

For comparison, the A-10 Warthoghas a 30mm cannon to kill tanks with :eek::smiley:

This was part of the *Great Planes *series which I’m pretty sure started out as a US show and when released in Australia had a new voice-over done.

When I was teaching EFL in the '90s, the school I was at used a lot of material from Longman, a UK company.

One of the things they printed was a dictionary that explained things like idioms and cultural references. I was dumbfounded when I read that “Star Wars is a very popular movie directed by Steven Spielberg” and “NASA = North American Space Agency.” :eek: :smack:

I had a novel submitted to a small publisher when one of my friends had a book come out with them–and they misspelled their own company’s name in their own promotional material.

I immediately sent them a tight-lipped sort of email asking that my MS be withdrawn from consideration.

Not a typo, but during the oil crisis in the 1970’s, I asked my mother what “OPEC” meant. Thinking fast, she told me it was the “Oil Producing Economic Community”. Forty years later, I still have to think twice to remember which is the correct meaning of the acronym, and which was made up by my mother.

I read a book that had the line, “The Amazons were practically born to the saddle from birth.”

Ouch. People really do write that badly.

I have a National Geographic book entitled 1000 Events That Shaped The World, which has Henry IV of England passing the Edict of Nantes in 1598. Neat trick for someone who had been dead for 185 years.

It also has the Vikings landing on the west coast of Canada in the year 1000. I guess they sailed straight south, around Cape Horn, and all the way back up to British Columbia before they noticed two large unknown continents in the way.

It makes me wonder how many more errors there are that I’m not noticing.

I was told exactly the same thing, probably at that same time when OPEC was in the news all the time. It was a long time before I learned otherwise.

I worked for a time editing material for an overseas investment firm. One analyst from the UK regularly submitted reports that contained gems like “This does not boad well for the G8.”

Opec is the Pasha Shaboom’s servant.

Oh, our local newspaper is full of them. My recent favorite was about Lindsey Graham’s joke about a, and I am not kidding here, “rotating first lay”.

ETA - oh, my favorite “oh really, The State?” was when that Georgia funeral home was just dumping the bodies out back. This was the headline. Front page. Above the fold. A bazillion people had to have seen it along the way and just shrugged and let it happen. “Grizzly find in Georgia”.

I saw this “interesting” factoid in the Metro.US just yesterday.

I guess it’s technically true, but still…:smack::smack::smack::smack::smack:

I can’t read that one, but these two caught my eye when I Googled Metro.US just now:

“Maxim’s feature on Elba is a double edge sword of magnificent eye candy…”


“Victim of an attempted robbery shouted at suspect and fled the scene.”

Say what??? :dubious: :confused:

Requires that I be signed in to see it.

“Meter out punishment” was used once in The Moscow Times. The author was British, not Russian.

Especially disturbing, since his sister would be one of them! :eek:

I had taken a snapshot of a graph in the Metro.US paper I saw yesterday. It was a graph demonstrating (and this is the actual headline) Statistics Show That Teen Pregnancies Drop Drastically After the Age of 20.

I tried to find a link to the actual Metro website, but couldn’t find that graph again - even though it was just published yesterday.

In my edition of Jingo by Terry Pratchett, mayherestinpeace, Colon is referred to once by the text as “Cohen”.