Punctuation Problems and Cake Wrecks

Alison Morris - August 25, 2008

Imagine ordering a cake for your daughter’s baby shower only to pick it up and find that not one but TWO of the three words you asked to have written on the cake had been misspelled. Such was the case for one of the many people (see photo at right) whose cake disasters are represented on the painfully funny blog my friend Joyce Farnsworth introduced me to last week. Cake Wrecks, as it’s called, features professional cakes gone "horribly, hilariously wrong." And a surprising number of them "went wrong" because someone in the bakeshop spelled something incorrectly or used bizarre punctuation.

I’d forgotten that misused (or rather, unnecessary) quotation marks could be so entertaining until I saw the cake pictured below, which is featured in a post appropriately titled "Gee, thanks, ‘kids’."

Lots of people, though, apparently find errors in spelling and punctuation entertaining enough to have started blogs for the sole sake of calling attention to those that appear in public. Take a look at the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, for example, on which appears the photo that’s pasted below.

Fellow Bostonians may recognize some of the sights and signs that appear on Apostrophe Castastrophes, a blog created by the daughter of local children’s book author Jane Sutton. Becky is not above calling out even the most sacred of children’s books for its missing apostrophes. Take a peek at her post about Goodnight Moon.

Blogs similar to Becky’s (which has the best name of the apostrophe lot!) include Aspostrophe Abuse and Apostrophism. Widening the scope a bit, there are errors of every shape and size over at the English Fail Blog. And then, of course, there’s Engrish.com. If you haven’t visited this site before, I recommend setting aside some time before you do so. And be sure you’re in a place where people won’t object to your guffawing loudly.

Of course, if you’re a punctuation eagle-eye who’s in the habit of actually altering the typos you see in public, let me warn you that not everyone takes kindly to unsolicited copy editing. The National Park Service recently took issue with the actions of a pair calling themselves the Typo Eradication Advancement League and the duo found themselves in some rather hot water.

But at least they weren’t in "hot" water. Or hot "water."

5 thoughts on “Punctuation Problems and Cake Wrecks

  1. Becky

    Thanks so much for the link! I am so glad that you enjoy reading Apostrophe Catastrophes. FYI, Jane Sutton also has a blog at everythingilearnediswrong.blogspot.com.

  2. Sara Hunter

    Hi Alison Have you heard about the 20-something graduates of my alma mater, Dartmouth, who just got arrested in the Grand Canyon? I’ve been following Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson, founders of the Typo Eradication Advancement League as they’ve crisscrossed America armed with felt tip markers correcting misplaced apostrophes and grammatically incorrect signage. After travelling nearly 12,000 miles in 73 days, and identifying 423 instances of signage marred by mistakes, they made 231 corrections. Unfortunately the apostrophes they corrected in the Canyon turned out to be hysterical — I mean historical. The grammar police were arrested, given probation, ordered to pay $3,035, and banned from all US national parks. I maintain ITS NOT THERE FAULT!!

  3. writeroffthelake

    I’ve walked out of restaurants where the menus had glaring errors, and I’ve refused to do business with stores that post poorly constructed signs. But the worst is when I go back through my website and discover multiple errors after knowing how many hours I’ve put into trying to eliminate them. I’m ALWAYS glad when friends and others tell me of an error on my site and I try to fix it immediately, but still, I know there will be errors that will always be missed. And I can’t blame any web surfer who gets po’d and never returns because they’ve found an error…I’ve done the same.


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