Thursday, August 6, 2009

What the L?

Doing so much social issues marketing work, we use the word "public" quite a bit: "public transit", "Public Safety Canada", "Public Health Agency of Canada", etc. But a certain embarrassing typo has become a curse of our internal written communications. Yes, that's right — it's a missing "L".

The situation got so bad once that we actually received a memo to remove the word "pubic" from our Microsoft Office dictionaries, so that it would always be flagged. This makes legitimate uses of the word in copy somewhat annoying (our healthcare work occasionally involves discussing STIs), but at least we won't be in danger of sending clients an unintentionally naughty message.

At least we're not the only ones. Check out this screen cap of a Google News search:

In case that's too small to read, there are references to "Amherst Pubic Library", "Napa County Pubic Health Division", the line "crime prevention starts with them, the pubic", "several arrests for pubic drunkenness", "a $24.7 million pubic share offering" and Porter Airlines' "initial pubic offering" (my personal favourites), as well as a "framework which will enable us to compete for a wider range of pubic sector research projects". Only the first hit is an accurate use of the word. That's gold, Jerry!

In these days of too much automated proofreading, the embarrassing typo is obviously here to stay.

Besides the other classic of putting too many "T"s in the word "its", what awkward typos trip you up?

1 comment:

  1. For some reason, I often accidentally drop the "h" in the word "things" and end up asking people how tings are going.
    I kind of like this, however, because it sounds vaguely Jamaican.
    "Hey mon, how are tings wit you?"