Sunday, July 25, 2010

Book Publisher Seeks Photos of Bad Grammar

A book publisher is looking for photos of bad grammar. The categories are below. They'd purchase rights to print them (which would mean you'd have to be the photographer).

Contact Melody Tolson (  if you have photos in these categories:

Capital Letters
Needs an image showing incorrect use of capital letters or a lack of capital letters where required.

Needs an image showing incorrect use of numerals or incorrect use of the numbers spelled out. For example, with abbreviations or symbols, the numbers should be presented as numerals – “7 kg” rather than “seven kg”.

Cracking the Sentence Code: Subjects and Verbs
Needs an image showing incorrect usage, perhaps a mistake with prepositional phrases; E.g. “Many houses in our neighbourhood needs painting.”

Run-on Sentences
An image showing a run-on sentence; too much information provided in one sentence that could easily be broken up into shorter sentences.

Modifier Problems
Misuse of modifiers (dangling or misplaced) such as “only”, “almost”, or a phrase – e.g. “Alice discovered a magic mushroom walking through Wonderland.” Or “When writing, a dictionary is your best friend.”

Images that show a lack of parallelism in the wording – e.g. “No smoking, drinking, or loud noises.” “A SmartCar is great because they’re cheap, easy to park, and driving one is fun.”

Correct Verb Forms
Image should show incorrect verb forms – e.g., “I drinked it in one gulp.” Or use of the passive voice that is unclear.

Subject-Verb Agreement
Image that shows a lack of agreement between the subject and verb, such as a singular subject with a plural verb “Everyone on the team show great respect for the coach” – this should read “shows”

Incorrect use of the verb tense or mixed verb tenses in the same sentence – “I’m standing right behind Sophie when she suddenly screamed.”

Person Agreement
Errors including misuse or mixing of “you” and “one” or “everyone” and “their”. E.g., “If you wish to succeed, one must work hard.” Or “Everyone must hang up their own jacket.”

An image showing the incorrect placement of a comma, or the lack of commas where they are required. “A panda is a bearlike marsupial that eats, shoots, and leaves.”

An image showing the misuse of the colon, for example after “is” or “are” – e.g., The things that bug me are: mosquitos, parking tickets, and rap music.”

Quotation Marks:
An image showing misuse of quotation marks; perhaps where someone has put a word in quotation marks as emphasis, rather than to show a quotation – e.g., “He told he just wasn’t ‘that’ into me.”

Question Marks, Exclamation Marks:
An image showing misuse of question marks or exclamation marks – e.g., “I wonder if you know them?” where the “?” is not needed; or overuse of an exclamation mark at the end of each sentence.


Mama Bee said...

Maybe I'll just send them my copy of "Dumbing Down Our Kids" (by Charles J. Sykes). Loved the book. Hated the typos. They ranged from plain vanilla misspelled words to mismatched tenses to full-on incoherent sentences. The majority of them were clearly the result of the author (or an editor) changing half of a sentence without checking to change the affected words in the other half of the sentence. I started folding over pages with errors, and nearly half the pages were folded by the time I finished the book.

In a book with any other topic, it would have simply been irritating. In a book about the lack of quality in our education system, it was downright hilarious.

Anonymous said...
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Lance-Robert said...

Do you have an email address for Melody Tolson? I found her on LinkedIn, if that helps:

GenKnit said...

Seems to me that the post about the book might benefit from some editing. For example: "...phrases; E.g. 'Many...'" If I were smooth-reading this selection, I'd insert a tag there: [**should it be a lower-case e on the e.g.?] I'd get to tag several things.

I'm just sayin'!!!!!!!



P.S. Please feel free to cite the overuse of exclamation points from my sentence above.

mtolson said...

Thanks so much to Martha for sending out the word about my photo hunt. I am looking for photos to open each chapter of a university/college level textbook. Usable photos would need to be high-res (the equivalent of a 5x6 at 300 dpi). Unfortunately, due to copyright restrictions, photos taken inside businesses will not be usable, unless you were to find a very agreeable business that didn't mind being embarassed. If you have something you think would suit, please send a low-res copy to me at Many thanks.

Linda said...

I wish I had a photo of the elementary school bulletin board I passed years ago that stated:

"Word of the Week: Self-control/Virtue."

Um, when I went to school those were two words.

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