Monday, August 11, 2014

Mistakes on Professional Signage

The perfect picture and view from the historical site lakeside. 
Style, usage and grammar mistakes galore. Where did I see these mistakes? In a casual email? On a text? On a sign somewhere? No, not exactly. I saw these mistakes "littering" the historical signage sprinkled along a trail in Tahoe City to celebrate the town's 150th anniversary. At the end of the tour, I noticed that the local rotary club got credit for the signs. At that point I realized the "road to messed-up signs is paved in good community intentions but weak grammarians." Now to the average eye the mistakes wouldn't necessarily leap off the signs, but to the well-trained eye the errors flew off those plaques. Misused commas in strange places, no hyphenation on words that should have been hyphenated -- those two mistakes were the most common. I can only imagine how many corrections a professional editor would have left behind on that copy had one only had his or her hands on it. I imagined one of those papers the English teacher would hand back with a look on his or her face. Grammar Girl would not be smiling either.

What's our lesson for the day: always, always, always hire a professional editor. Always, always, always hire a professional editor if your writing will be out on public display -- especially for years to come. Silly tourists just like me will come through, read your mistakes, and blog about it. I have a saying that aptly applies to all writing: if it's wrong today, it's wrong tomorrow (printed).

If you need to hire a copy editor, feel free to check out my company's information at or call 916-300-8012.

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