Thursday, June 9, 2011

Can you spot the errors?

The following was printed on the packaging of the Star Wars fishing rod that my 8-year-old bought at a garage sale (because nothing says fishing like Star Wars, right?).

So ... how many errors can you spot? My count is four, but two are of the same kind and are more subjective than the others. Take a stab and then look below for my corrections (or don't ...).

1. Kid's: Kid's is the possessive form of kid, not the plural, which is needed here: kids. In editing circles this is called the grocer's apostrophe because it's so often seen on signs advertising, for example,  apple's for $2.99/lb. 

The only reason I can come up with for grocers and manufacturers of Star Wars fishing rods believing this is correct is that they think the noun needs to be separated from the "s" ... for, I don't know, easier reading? I mean, are you really that confused when you see the word apples, having to stop and think, "Oh, it's apple but the "s" on the end means more than one apple"? Didn't think so. Please use the apostrophe only when indicating possession (My kid's Star Wars fishing rod is all that) or contraction (My kid's been playing with his Star Wars fishing rod all day -- here the apostrophe replaces the missing letters "ha" from has).

2. help any kid build their angling skills: Kid is singular; their is plural. So they don't match. And they should: "help any kid build his or her angling skills" or "help all kids build their angling skills." This is another battle we editors are fighting: the trend of accepting their as an appropriate possessive pronoun for a singular subject.

3. and 4. "easy to use push button design reel": Don't be afraid of the hyphen, even multiple hyphens: easy-to-use push-button-design reel makes this an easier-to-read sentence. You could also delete design. Plus -- and not being a fisherperson I may be wrong here -- aren't all reels the push-button kind?

How'd you do?

1 comment:

  1. Push button reels are a type of baitcasting reel...other baitcasters do have push buttons but with the additional requirement of using your thumb to keep the spool from backlashing. A simple "push button" reel has the spool enclosed in a housing. This makes it easier to operate since the user doesn't have to worry about the spool backlashing. Baitcasters have the reel oriented on top of the rod...spincasters have the reel hang from the bottom.