The Myths of 'Mortal Syntax'

Everyone has a grammar pet peeve. Who or whom, good versus well, that and which — they're all misused on a regular basis. Madeleine Brand gets a grammar lesson from June Casagrande, author of Mortal Syntax.

Man Travels Country to Fixe Typo's

Typo

What's wrong with this picture? Tricia McKinney/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Tricia McKinney/NPR

Jeff Deck of Boston had seen a lot of misspellings on signs around his city, and one day he decided he just couldn't take it anymore.

Deck cobbled together the Typo Eradication Advancement League and set off on a nationwide quest to repair the mistakes by any means necessary, including chalk and adhesive letters. For the next three months, the four team members will travel highways and byways wielding the red pen of justice and blogging their exploits.

Typos have been a passion of Deck's since he won a few spelling bees in junior high school. As TEAL makes its way around America, Deck expects to find endless examples of the lowly apostrophe being misused. "It seems that a lot of errors revolve around the apostrophe, that eternally misunderstood punctuation mark," he says.

Deck even found a misspelling on his doctor's business cards — which read "referal" instead of "referral." He mentioned it to the clerk, saying, "There's no way this is going to get fixed, is there?" And indeed, there was not.

Seen any good typo's lately?

Share your best on the BPP blog.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.