Friday Follies #79 – 3 mistakes that make me go “Arghhh”

Hello, FF devotees! This week the Grammar Cop once again brings you three awful gaffes, along with their corrections. Because, hey, somebody has to do it.

  1. CBC.CA: (In a photo caption) “This went from bold idea to scientific quackery pretty quickly, and that in itself is interesting. – Timothy Caulfield, quack medicine expert”
  2. THE SUBURBAN: (In editorial) “In Montreal, the Public Security Minister of Quebec called in five police forces to investigate the growing scandal of fabricated evidence by the Internal Affairs department of the SPVM which come on the heels of revelations that the police have been wiretapping reporters and listening to conversations through electronic surveillance that violate attorney-client privilege and that has now led to the suspension of the Deputy Police Director.”
  3. BA-BAMAIL.COM: (About Timbuktu) “However, a history of invasion has eliminated many of the city’s monuments, leaving just a few to peak our curiosity.”

The corrections:

  1. If I had a nickel for every time an error creeps into a caption… I could be rich. The reason is that often it’s not the writer who inserts the caption; it’s the graphic artist. Let’s just say that this artist’s talents lie more on the art side than the text side. The problem here is that, the way the wording looks now, it seems as though Timothy Caulfield is a “medicine expert” who is a “quack.” Of course the opposite is true, as a full reading of the article shows. He is actually an expert on quack medicine. So the phrase should either spell that out in full, or, to avoid any ambiguity, they should at least insert a hyphen: quack-medicine expert.
  2. Oh God. First of all, the sentence is way too long! Imagine reading it out loud – you’d be gasping for breath before you got to the end. So I would split it by putting a period after SPVM. And even in that half-sentence, you still have about seven prepositions, which is a big clue that you’re trying to squeeze too much information in there. Anyway, the next sentence should start, This comes (note the correct singular verb form, since the subject of the sentence is singular: “scandal”) on the heels… and it should end after the word privilege. That leaves the last sentence: This has now led to the suspension… or: These actions have now led to the suspension…
  3. They didn’t “peak” our curiosity. But they did pique it. 🙂  In fact these are two of three homophones: peak, pique, and peek. A peak is the top of something, as a mountain peak. To pique one’s interest or curiosity? To stir it up, to awaken it. To peek of course means to look at something, often clandestinely, as: She peeked around the corner to see if the annoying person was still there. Answer: He was. 😀 Interestingly, this mistaken use of “peak” was corrected in another source I found covering the same material. At that other website, the sentence read: “A history of invasion has unfortunately eliminated many of the city’s monuments leaving just a few to leave us curious.” It’s not pretty, with the repetition of leaving/leave, but hey, you can’t have it all, apparently!

I’m now going to pique my taste buds and enjoy my frozen pizza. I peeked into the freezer earlier, and there it was, perched on the peak of frozen knishes and fish sticks. See you next week!

14 thoughts on “Friday Follies #79 – 3 mistakes that make me go “Arghhh”

  1. As I scaled the peak of example #2 I quickly became exhausted by the arduous prepositions that dragged me down by the heels so that I was almost too tired to take a peek at the city’s monuments although I will say that my interest was piqued by the scandal involving the medicine expert who may or may not be a quack and now no doubt my comments have been picked up by electronic surveillance which my gnome Henri has the answer for.
    Yeah I went there and ended the sentence with a preposition! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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