Subbing the world

Righting copywriting wrongs, one word at a time

Burger in a bum?

Copywriter Jim Davies recently sent me this picture for the blog:

Anus burger sign

It seems like prime meat for my mincer, to be sure. But too prime to be true? I wondered. I googled.

Another anus burger

(Found here)

To lose one critical G, to paraphrase that famous Lady, may be regarded as misfortune. To lose two looks like carelessness.

But three?

Another anus burger sign

(Found here)

Or four?

Bacon & Cheese Anus

(Found here)

By now I’m starting to assume some sort of Photoshop japery. After all, it turns out not to be just McDonald’s:

BK Anus

(Found here)

In fact, an ‘anus burger’ search on Flickr gets a whole host of results.

So is it real, or fake? This blog and this one seem to take the ‘typos’ at face value. And there seem to be so many. Who would bother to keep Photoshopping the same, fairly limited, gag onto dozens of shots?

Maybe they’re the real thing after all. I like to assume that rather than being symptoms of stupidity, they’re symptoms of boredom and mild rebellion by teenage McJobbers, trying to find some fun between scraping the oven and ‘You want fries with that?’


Filed under: Typos

Spelling is not among them

Pubic schools

I mean, honestly. Thanks for tweeting this, Nick.

Original on AdFreak.

Filed under: Typos

Vowel movements

I said earlier that I don’t tend to post about typos, as they’re usually pretty mundane. ‘Unless,’ I said, ‘the word ought to have been something like “shot” or “bigger”.’

As is the synchronicitous way of things, shortly after that post I found myself poring over the takeaway menu from our local Indian restaurant, wondering what to have for dinner. The item below caught my eye – for all the wrong reasons, obviously.

Indian menu typo

An embarrassing slip for any restaurant to make. Given the traditional caricature of Indian food, and its gastrointestinal ramifications, this does seem especially unfortunate. But still very appealing to the schoolboy element of my sense of humour.

(The takeaway, by the way, was delicious. If you’re around my part of Surrey, I heartily recommend The Dorking Brasserie. But perhaps not their proof-reader.)

Filed under: Typos

Eagle-Eyed Reader Of The Month Award

Samsung Galaxy press ad typo

The prize goes to my sometime client and fellow tweeter, Belfast-based graphic designer Gareth Hammond, for this one. He sent me these shots of a recent press ad for the Samsung Galaxy S phone.

Normally, when someone says they spotted a typo, it’s quite a mundane affair, unless the word ought to have been something like ‘shot’ or ‘bigger’.

But this one is definitely embarrassing, albeit not for that sort of tittery reason. Gareth also supplied a close-up, thank heavens:

Galaxy S typo close-up

I mean, if you’re going to put a shot of your product in an ad, it probably makes sense to check that everything on it is right. You wouldn’t use a shot of a car if it had a flat tyre, would you?

Silly Samsung. Clever Gareth.

Filed under: Contributions, Typos

Censuring the BBC

BBC typo

So, class: what’s wrong with this paragraph (another contribution from eagle-eyed copywriter Jim Davies)?

It’s from today’s BBC Sport website (scroll down to ‘Other Gossip’).

Well, yes, I probably would hyphenate ‘mid-flow’, but that’s not what we’re looking for.

A comma after ‘press conference?’ Do you know, I think you’re right. But again, not the target today.

Yes? You at the back, with the chewing gum in your hair? Yes, well done. Quite right:

BBC typo corrected

Censure means to strongly disapprove of something, or even to issue an official reprimand. You can almost see how someone might think that was what Fifa was doing, in a way.

But it seems obvious that whoever scrambled this paragraph out meant censor, as in to suppress certain material on behalf of some regime or other. Oops.

Bizarrely enough, when I was collecting my links I found that is featuring censor as one of its ‘commonly confused’ words today: confused words

Even so, I don’t think we can let the BBC off the hook, can we? Otherwise we’d be censoring our own right to censure. Which would be a shame indeed.


UPDATE (about three hours later):

The page has now been corrected:

BBC typo changed

Is this because of its appearance here? I wouldn’t wish to claim credit unduly, but who knows…?

Filed under: Contributions, Typos

‘Oops’ doesn’t really cover it

Thanks to a tweet from the splendid Adopt-a-Word*, I’ve discovered this story from yesterday’s Guardian:

Penguin Cookbook typo freshly ground black people

As typos go, this really is a biggie. So big, you almost wonder if some twisted white supremacist proof-reader put it through on purpose.

$20,000 later (this happened in Australia), all the offending books have been pulped, according to the publisher. Which is hardly surprising.

And they say pedantic nit-picking is pointless.


* Full disclosure: My opinion of their splendidness is in no way coloured by the fact they’re one of my clients.

Filed under: Typos

May I have this UK Independance?

UKIP leaflet mis-spelled

Thanks to Nick Asbury for tweeting me this rather confused piece of election material today.

However frothingly bonkers a party may be, one does expect them to be able to spell their own name. (Not to mention understanding the use of full stops and capital letters.)

The BNP has a good strategy in this regard: even its most Neanderthal members can, presumably, put three letters in the right order.

Perhaps UKIP should just stick to initials.

Filed under: Contributions, Naming, Typos

A missing ingredient

Waitrose poster

I spotted this at Dorking station the other day. And because I am sad and nerdy, all I could see was a great gap of white space between the words ‘best’ and ‘loved’.

That phrase is a compound adjective – a descriptive term made up of two words put together. And that means it needs a hyphen in the middle to connect them.

Without the hyphen, the meaning slips slightly out of focus. The two adjectives get into a fight, or at least stand apart from each other, instead of cuddling up together and conceiving a new verbal being containing something of each of them.

Okay, so it’s not as serious here as it might be elsewhere. If I describe Delia as a fat-frying woman, I’m clearly talking about what she’s doing on the stove. If I describe her as a fat frying woman, she’d probably go off in a huff. (Actually quite dangerous when you’ve got fat frying on the stove.)

I know it’s tiny and trivial, and that very few people will be confused by the poster. But how hard is it to drop in a little hyphen?

And in any case, by Jove, this is Waitrose after all. One expects a little more.

Filed under: Grammar, Typos

An oldie but a goodie

Going over some old stuff, I found this, which I spotted on the BBC website, way back in 2008.

Great tits BBC

A good lesson in the importance of capitalising proper nouns.

Filed under: Grammar, Typos

Not the greatest

Elaine Gibb (I don’t have a link for you Elaine, sorry) sent me this ridiculous typo, which she spotted on a poster in a bar.

Elaine saw it. I can see it. You can see it. So why didn’t whoever produced the poster see it?

‘I saw it in a bar at Christmas time,’ says Elaine, ‘but I don’t think that’s any excuse. Maybe he was afraid of getting decked in the halls…’

I can’t think of a better joke than that one.

Filed under: Contributions, Typos

Let's start with this blog. The name's just not right, is it? It's much wider than sub-editing. It's just as often about words that are technically correct, but tonally all over the place. Oh well. Anyway, please feel free to send me your own examples of horrible copy (but please, no more erroneous apostrophes): mike[at]


Drop your email address in here and I'll email you when there's a new post.

Join 16 other followers