Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Biting the Hand that Pours Drinks for Me

I play on a softball team that's sponsored by a bar. The staff treats us really well, and we get free drinks after games. But in the midst of our victory celebration last night (back-to-back city championships!), I had to take photos of two apostrophe catastrophes.

If you look carefully, you'll also notice that someone changed one of the special's from "chicken parm" to "chicken porn." Clever!

And then there's the men's room sign....

Writing "mens" seems to be a very common error. Men is already plural!

I apologize for the poor quality of the second photo. That one was taken after the bartender poured us a second round of victory shots.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This Week's Special: Bad Punctuation

This sign annoys me every time I shop at the FoodMaster:

It's almost as disturbing as the fact that the supermarket is carpeted.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Hammer's Entourage Is Coming?

Jon spotted this apostrophe catastrophe on a highway in Cameron Park, CA:

On second thought, Jon wondered if the sign was referring to a certain former House Majority Leader.

Thanks for sending this photo, Jon!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Punctuation Vandalization

Several people sent me this story about two members of the Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL) getting arrested for vandalizing a sign at the Grand Canyon. They have been banned from entering any national parks for a year and have to pay a $3000 fine. Yikes! Let this be a lesson to you, dear readers. If you see a punctuation error, take a photo of it for Apostrophe Catastrophes, but don't try to fix it unless it's on a dry-erase board or a cake.

But speaking of errors, doesn't the article's headline, "Men banned from national parks after vandalism," kind of make it sound as if no men are allowed in national parks anymore?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme an Apostrophe After Midnight

The people at IKEA are clearly too busy listening to ABBA to bother with correct punctuation.

Thanks to Carrie and Rich for sending me that photo.

Speaking of ABBA, did you know that "Dancing Queen" is John McCain's favorite song? Read his top 10 (and Obama's) here.

And, continuing the Swedish theme, I bought these meatballs for a party I threw a few weeks ago:

Were they really trying their best?

Update: I also sent this photo to the hilarious Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks. See what Bethany has to say about it here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

There's Only One Oprah

Facebook ads tend to be poorly written, but this one struck me as especially bad:

Besides, would you trust a diet that's been endorsed by someone whose weight fluctuates more than the stock market?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Misspelling of the Month

I try to limit this blog to punctuation errors, but some misspellings are so terrible that they must be posted for the world to see. Both my co-worker Jameson and my roommate Molly sent me photos of this sign that they saw on the side of Route 28 in Medford.

Looks like some people need to rejuvenate their spelling skills.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Don't Tread on Punctuation

Taking a lovely stroll through Cambridge on Friday, I noticed a Gadsen flag waving in the wind.

Dont tread on me. I appreciate the sentiment, but I do not appreciate the lack of apostrophe.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Shoes, Apostrophes, and Rock 'n' Roll

Standing in a sea of tattoos and cigarette butts outside a local dive bar/club, I looked down and decided that my lime-green kitten heels weren't nearly punk rock enough. Then I turned to my right and noticed something even worse -- a glaring punctuation error on one of the stickers that was plastered to the wall.

If The Jopo's! had been playing that night, I would have asked them about the apostrophe in their name. Yes, I'm that much of a dork. But they weren't, so I went to their MySpace page the next day in search of answers instead. They don't explain the apostrophe (whatever it is that belongs to them is implied, perhaps?), so I declare it wrong. They call themselves "scary ass dudes," so maybe I should be afraid to post anything negative about them, but, in the name of punctuation justice, I must report on all apostrophe catastrophes -- no matter the cost.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thank's for Todays Tips

Let's take a poll, readers. Does it bother you more when writers omit apostrophes, like this:

or add them where they shouldn't be, like this:


I saw both of these apostrophe catastrophes at the Metro Cafe on the same day. It was a bad day for punctuation.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Here's a Tip: Learn Some Grammar!

My friend Tiffers sent me a photo of a sign that is so atrocious that I don't know where to begin.

Tiff found this sign near the tip jar at the Candy Castle in Lexington, MA. It lists the colleges that the student employees attend or will be attending in the fall. But with all the errors in the sign, it's a wonder these kids graduated from high school let alone got admitted to top colleges! The horrors of this sign include:
- Missing apostrophes (Columbias sister school)
- Homonym errors (Boston your my home)
- Spelling mistakes (Conneticut College)

Tiff found the your/you're error the most disturbing because she went to Boston College. Looking beyond all the grammatical errors for a moment, however, I think I am most offended by the fact that the sign writer wrote "Hurricanes and mardi gras! Yee haw!" about Tulane. That's wrong on so many levels.

Tiffers is one of the best punctuation vigilantes on the Apostrophe Catastrophes team. Check out her other contributions here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

This One's for TEAL

If you read this blog, you may also be familiar with those guys who traveled around the country fixing typos. Well, I met one of the members of the Typo Eradication Advancement League at a party on Friday. Turns out we know some of the same people. Small world. Anyway, I don't generally fix punctuation errors; I just mock them. But when I saw an apostrophe catastrophe on a dry-erase board menu near my office, I had to take action.

I just couldn't let crab cake's stand.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The bus is talking to me!

My brother sent me this photo from a Boston bus:

So poetic. It could be in Barlett's. Thanks, Charlie!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Paris Hilton Smarter than She Seems and Other Surprises

Everyone is getting political these days. From So You Think You Can Dance to Paris Hilton, political statements are everywhere you look. Never one to be trendy, Apostrophe Catastrophes has decided that it's time to endorse something completely nonpartisan.

We are hereby officially endorsing The Gratitude Campaign. It's a movement to encourage people to thank uniformed servicepeople by using an ASL sign that means "thank you from the bottom of my heart." Watch the video on their web site to learn how to do it correctly. It would be a catastrophe if you accidentally signed, "Would you like to see my breasts?" instead.

And speaking of catastrophes, when I was reading up on The Gratitude Campaign, I found an article about it from Seattle's NBC affiliate that uses its where it should use it's.

King 5, you need to go to punctuation boot camp.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What do they mean by "table"?

A friend of mine is so dedicated to capturing punctuation errors that she took this photo with her camera phone and sent it to me during a date!

Thanks! Keep those submissions coming!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Don't Tase Me, Bro!

This sign, outside the parking lot of the East Coast Grill in Inman Square, is missing a comma and a period.

It should say, "Thanks, bro." But I forgive the punctuation errors because it makes me laugh that they call parkers "bro." Also, their slogan, "out of the ocean, into the fire," reminds me of "out of the queue and into the loo," which my friend Marisa and I used to say in college. Don't ask.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Even Target Makes Mistakes

Dear Target,
Oh, how I love your low prices and bright colors that cause me to be unable to leave your stores without spending at least $50. So I was disappointed when I saw your sign that said "womens."

Women is already plural, so you can't add an "s" to it. I suggest either deleting the "s" or adding an apostrophe before it.

Apostrophe Catastrophes

Friday, August 1, 2008

What a Lucky Kid!

One of the things I miss about my old job is that my office was located next to a fantastic supermarket. I was in the area the other day, so I stopped by to pick up some groceries. I was walking around feeling nostalgic when I noticed a catastrophe!

You can see two signs for kid's juice in the above photo. Unless only one child shops at that Star Market, those apostrophes are in the wrong place.