Author Archive | Jackie

Plain English Campaign ‘foot in mouth’ award 2011

Jamie Redknapp (sports commentator) for misuse of the word ‘literally’ and his catalogue of gaffes.

“These balls now – they literally explode off your feet.”

“Alonso and Sissoko have been picked to literally sit in front of the back four.”

“He’s literally left Ben Haim for dead there.”

“Peter Schmeichel will be like a father figure to Kasper Schmeichel.”

“Xabi Alonso was sensational spreading the ball to Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard that day.”

“Steven Gerrard makes runs into the box better than anyone. So does Frank Lampard.”

“If you’re going to get in behind Rio Ferdinand you’ve got to show him what you’ve got and then go in hard.”

“I’ll be honest, I know nothing about him.” (referring to AC Milan’s Alexandre Pato)


From ‘The BFG’ by Roald Dahl

Once again that sad winsome look came into the BFG’s eyes. ‘Words,’ he said, ‘is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me all my life. So you must simply try to be patient and stop squibbling. As I am telling you before, I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiff-squiddled around.’


Words of wisdom

“The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible. “
George Burns

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw

“Most of the disputes of the world arise from words.”
William Murray, Morgan v Jones 1773

“I can do it fast. I can do it cheap. I can do it well. Pick any two.”
Thom Rose

“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”
Dr Samuel Johnson

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”
William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

“I am sorry to write you such a long letter – I didn’t have enough time to write a short one.”
Attributed to G K Chesterton, Winston Churchill and others

“There is a weird power in a spoken word.”
Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim 1900

“A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, It is the skin of a living thought.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Towne v Elsner 1918

“All words are pegs to hang ideas on.”
Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit 1887

“[Warren Harding’s] speeches leave the impression of an army of pompous phrases moving over the landscape in search of an idea.”
William G McAdoo, The Fine Art of Political Wit 1964

“Advertising is a tax for having an unremarkable product”
Robert Stephens

“The more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.”
Joseph Priestley (1733-1804)

“News should be put before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.”
Joseph Pulitzer

“Poor or fuzzy communications are major time-wasters. Take the time to be crystal-clear in your communications with others.”
Brian Tracy

“Writing is the gold standard of communication. Learn to do it well and see more gold.”
Chris Widener

“Communication goes beyond the words we choose.”
Tony Jeary

“No use beeg words son. Dey for losers.”
Larry the Croc, in Pearls Before Swine

“Remember to stop speaking before the audience has stopped listening.”
Dorothy Sarnoff

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
Douglas Adams

“Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”
Walter Smith

“A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together.”
Margaret Atwood

“Inspiration is the act of drawing the chair up to the writing table.”
Turkish author, Orhan Pamuk

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
Hans Hoffman

“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”
Mark Twain

“If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”
Woodrow Wilson

“The human brain is a wonderful thing. It works from the moment we are born until the time we stand up to give a speech”
Howard Grossman

“Better than a thousand useless words is one single word that gives peace.”

“Imagine the silence if people said only what they know.”
“The moment a thing is expressed lucidly, it’s immediately evident if it’s true or false.”
“A writer should be like a baker baking bread for everyone.”
“One day, I’d like to write a book that would be so good and strong as to grip a person suffering from an inflamed tooth.”
Karel Capek (novelist, dramatist and inventor of the word ‘robot’)


From ‘Through The Looking Glass’ by Lewis Carroll

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. ‘They’ve a temper, some of them – particularly verbs: they’re the proudest – adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs – however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!’
‘Would you tell me, please,’ said Alice, ‘what that means?’
‘Now you talk like a reasonable child,’ said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. ‘I meant by “impenetrability” that we’ve had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you’d mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don’t mean to stop here all the rest of your life.’
‘That’s a great deal to make one word mean,’ Alice said in a thoughtful tone.
‘When I make a word do a lot of work like that,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘I always pay it extra.’


My favourite mitsakes

US magazine ‘Easy Sky Diving’

Please make the following correction. On page 8 line 7, ‘state zip code’ should read ‘pull rip cord’.

Sunday Express

On page 35 of this week’s section 3 we feature a recipe for lemon tart. Readers should note that, while the method is correct, the ingredients should include three lemons.

Campaigning website 

I am the elected Chair Person who speaks on behalf of the 42 families in Scotland who, for the last 5 years, have been seeking compensation from [name deleted] for gross mis-spelling.

Daily Mail

Britain’s biggest-selling hillwalking magazine apologised yesterday after publishing a route that would have led climbers off the edge of a cliff.
The February edition of Trail gave advice to walkers caught in foul weather and poor visibility on how to get off 4,406ft Ben Nevis – Britain’s tallest peak – safely. If readers had followed the directions they would have plunged from the Scottish mountain’s north face, which has claimed a number of lives.
Editor Guy Proctor said he was ‘gutted’ by the error but thought readers would pick it up. He said the article was written by a very experienced hillwalker from Loch Lomond and the mistake had occurred during the production process. ‘Somewhere in the journey to press, our route on Ben Nevis has lost the first of two bearings needed to get off the summit safely,’ he said.
The Mountaineering Council for Scotland has issued an alert on its website warning hillwalkers to be aware of the mistake.

Daily Mail 

A scientist whose trillion-dollar swindle was exposed by a spelling mistake was jailed for six years yesterday. [Name deleted] authenticated $2.5 trillion (£1.5 trillion) worth of US Treasury bonds he knew to be fake.
The scam unravelled when two men tried to cash $25 million (£15 million) worth of the bonds at a Canadian bank. After spotting they were marked ‘dollar’ rather than ‘dollars’, experts discovered [the bonds] had been run off on a inkjet printer not invented when they were supposedly issued in 1934.

Daily Mail 

This school advert for two classroom assistants is littered with so many mistakes that at times it is hard to understand. There are 17 obvious errors – without counting missing full stops and rogue capital letters – including calling for ‘sutiably’ qualified candidates with a GCSE in ‘Eglish’ to make a ‘differnce’ in children’s lives. To make matters worse, it was checked by a staff member at [name deleted] primary school before publication.

Bromley News Shopper
A spelling gaffe which caused embarrassment and amusement at Premiership newcomers Crystal Palace passed at least one man by – the club’s manager. Iain Dowie was unaware of the mistake as he posed for cameras at the Eagles’ Beckenham training ground, even though he was wearing one of the replica shirts showing his team’s names as Chrystal Palace. When New Shopper pointed out the error at the press call last Thursday, Palace boss Dowie said ‘What are you journalists like? Talk about attention to detail. I think you want to get out a bit more.’

San Francisco Chronicle 

A colourful mosaic gracing the entrance of Livermore’s new library is of a genre known as naïve art because of its whimsical design and childlike nature. Maybe that explains why 11 of the 175 names and words on the piece are mis-spelled – from ‘Eisten’ and ‘Shakespere’ to ‘Van Gough’ and ‘Michaelangelo’. The $40,000 project will now cost the city a few thousand more because it must pay the artist to fly from her Miami home and correct the mistakes.

Door drop leaflet

Cat charity



Adult education leaflet


Errors in exams and essays

“An epitaph is a short, sarcastic poem.”

“Poetry is when every line starts with a capital letter and doesn’t reach the right side of the page.”

“Letters in sloping type are in hysterics.”

“An abstract noun is one that cannot be heard, seen, touched or smelled.”

“A consonant is a large piece of land surrounded by water.”

“The adder is a poisonous snack.”

“Pine is an example of a carnivorous tree.”

“If teeth are not cleaned, plague is the result.”

“In the Middle Ages, people lived in mud huts with rough mating on the floor.”

“The seventh commandment is ‘Thou shalt not admit adultery.’”

Source: ‘Must Try Harder! The Very Worst Howlers by Schoolchildren’, by Norman McGreevy


Haiku for PC users

Windows alerts inspired by Haiku, a traditional Japanese form of poetry.

Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.

More here