Join the Hunt

50 Typos in 50 States

“Great,” you say.  “I love what you’re doing.  I want to join the Typo Eradication Advancement League too.  How can I contribute?”

Fantastic question!  We need your help in collecting the best typo correction in each state in this great nation.  We’re trying to visit a lot of states during our book tour, but we just can’t hit them all.  We could try, but we would run out of money and our girlfriends would dump us.  So send us pictures of your typo finds and corrections, to typo [at] greattypohunt.com. Emphasis on the correction!  Also, emphasis on getting permission before you fix a typo!  Always get permission.

When we are done with our book tour, and when we have enough pictures from you, we will put together a new map of the United States that features the best typo correction in each state, and mention our heroic typo hunters that made it all possible.  This will be our 50 Typos in 50 States, a beautiful symbol of what we can all do when we band together for better spelling and grammar.

61 Responses to Join the Hunt

  1. Michelle Luna says:

    I’m a Californian living in Argentina, and I just read about your adventures in the Buenos Aire Herald. When you go international and are looking for some entertaining English translation typos, let me know!

  2. mitch mirsky says:

    Hi. I’m sorry I don’t have the time to join the official hunt but I wanted to report a major typo I saw recently.

    It was on the large outside plastic menu above a well-known restaurant/ice cream parlor at the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park in Jackson, NJ and it read
    Johnnty Rockets.

    I immediately informed the person in charge who had no idea the misspelling was there.
    I just started reading your book so I don’t know if it’s been covered or if anyone has since mentioned it.
    Sorry I can’t supply a picture but the menu looked like a mass-produced item and it should be fairly easy
    to check out.

    Much success to you and Team Teal.
    Mitch Mirsky
    P.S. If there are any errors in the above note I’ll never forgive myslef.

  3. Sigrid Trombley says:

    This website shows a very embarrassing typo for the South Bend School District — you know, South Bend’s “pubic schools.”

    http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/Billboard-Spelling-Error-Creates-Embarrassment-103312449.html

  4. eileen says:

    Dear Jeff & Benjamin:

    I’m looking so fwd to reading your book! I just came across its title in the 9.23.10 email from Random House. The word “Typo” caught my attention because I think I’m one of the typo-obsessed*: I can’t help noticing how many pop up in the textbooks I record for RFB&D (audio books, “Reading For the Blind & Disabled”). Image, textbooks! — talk about irony. {In the old days, as my Mother told me when I began teaching, the publishers would replace any textbook that contained typos. So, as a tyro teacher I contacted the editor listed in one of my students’ faulty textbooks, & of course, was informed that that was no longer their policy. They must have had a good laugh. :-}

    Such typos as these, and countless others that pepper mainstream books, seem to be legion, & therefore, for that reason alone are probably not practical for, let alone pertinent to, your current research project. But, if you’re ever interested, I’d be glad to pass on some of my observations, errors that I could not stop myself from recording as I came across them. And we’re not alone: recently, I came across a library book in which another reader had neatly penciled corrections in its margin — I thought, ahha, an anti-typoist friend! I believe that illustrates that we are not immune to typos. 🙂

    I can’t wag my finger in school-marm disapproval at those who make errors — I’m just amazed by the fact that they exist in today’s print at all, let alone in such numbers, & that the publishing process can’t catch the typos before the publications go to press. I’d hesitate to point them out to the culprits, but would love to ask them why they persist in today’s print.

    And what do the authors think? An excellent novel by a well-known writer had many typos in a recently published book, & I wondered how he felt. Sadly, it wasn’t the 1st time one of his books had this problem.

    So, even though all of the above are not the type of typos (:-) for your “greattypohunt”, I thought I’d add my two-cents to the issue just to underscore the fact that there definitely is one.

    Best of good times on your book tour! & looking fwd to reading “The Great Typo Hunt”,

    Eileen

    * {oops, did I spell it right?!? must check dictionary….;-}

  5. Jill Honadel says:

    Hey Guys,

    Awesome idea! When my husband saw me reading your book he asked “did they write that book just for you?” I too can spot a typo at a hundred yards. 🙂 Picked up a t-shirt from the secret store, bummed that I missed you in Pasadena – was there the same night but didn’t realize you were just up the street. Will be on the lookout and hope to send you some great typos/fixes soon. Go TEAL!

  6. Lolly Davies says:

    My husband and I were in the Brainerd Lakes, MN area recently and I read about the two of you in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. That very day I was going past the Paul Bunyan Bowl and they have the school bus sitting out in front and on it is this sign “Birthday Party’s with after school pick up.” Wonder how many teachers have groaned when seeing this. I didn’t have time to go in and chat with them and point out the error, but next year if it is still there, I certainly will. Recently I was online looking for a home improvement company. I found one, but there were many many typos and just plain grammar errors on the site that I felt compelled to point them out to the owner. I tried to be diplomatic about it. He had used so many apostrophes in the site that I think he used up a lifetime. Boy, he didn’t take well to my assistance!! Obviously, I am not going to use his company for two reasons: If his English skills are that poor I don’t want him and if his skin is that thin I certainly don’t want him. He’d probably rip everything out and just leave. 🙂

  7. Laurie says:

    This is to Mitch Mirsky from the above comment. I don’t know if you did it on purpose or not, but you misspelled “myself” in your P.S. comment. LOL

    A fellow TEALer.

  8. Jim says:

    I was reading your book while on an airplane. As I was landing in New Orleans, you (in the book) were just driving into New Orleans. The first sign I saw at my hotel read, “Door is temporarily broke. Please use front entrance”. I could not resist a stealth fix — I pulled out a black pen and added the missing N. I will e-mail you a photo of the corrected sign.

    I hope you are having fun tonight back in the Big Easy for your book tour.

  9. Rita Taddeucci says:

    One of my Facebook friends sent me a story from Public Radio International, along with the YouTube video on your Great Typo Hunt and book info. I wish he would have sent it to me in early August, because I missed your Chicago stop on August 31. I’m a writer and legal proofreader, and have long been very aggravated by all the typos I see :-(. I enjoy what you’re doing and often call attention to people’s typos myself, always being respectful about it. Sometimes they’re grateful, at times they’re very defensive. If at any time you need another typo hunter on your team, I would LOVE to join you on your next adventures.

  10. Phyllis Harris says:

    Funny – someone also asked me if this book was written for me as well. It’s good to be in good company.

    I have a laundry list of typos from the website of a local affiliate of a professional procurement organization. They opted NOT to correct and responded with: ‘you can’t see them unless you’re a member’.

    Another is a dinner plate designed and displayed in a glass case on a college campus commemorating the menu of the graduating class of the school’s culinary program. Table is memorialized as ‘talbe’.

    My most favorite – probably from 30 years ago – is a hand written sign hanging in the window of a shop door announcing the momentary return of the shop keeper. It reads: Back in 5 minuets.

  11. Pam Young says:

    I would love to join. This sounds like a lot of fun.

  12. We made this video to point out how stupid people are when it comes to proper spelling and also to make fun of the fact that walmart bought this property to build a super center and couldn’t because of one lone pine snake.

  13. Anne Wright says:

    I just saw you on CBS Sunday Morning, and am so bummed to find I just missed meeting you in Pasadena…I am a lifelong typo corrector myself as well as the current “National Adult Spelling Bee Champion”…and would love to join TEAL! Where is this “secret store” where one can purchase a t-shirt?

  14. Nancy Friend says:

    This sounds like a lot of fun. I would love to join and I have some friends and family who I know would love to join too!

  15. gigi says:

    KUDOs to you both! I thought I was the only one obsessed with eradicating typos! You two will make doing so much more entertaining for me now. Thank you for that.

    I have to share the funniest typo I’ve ever seen. While traveling one holiday season, I spotted a vehicle with a crudely homemade sign taped to the rear window of a vehicle being hauled. The sign read: CAR IN TOE.

    Enjoy! (And keep up the great work!!)

    -g-

  16. Jeanne Mitisek says:

    I already had your book on hold at the library when I saw the piece about you on CBS Sunday Morning (I never miss that show). Sorry I missed you in Denver at the Tattered Cover. I am currently reading the book, but I love the photo of the Canal City sign on Page 78 with the missing “C” on Canal.

    Two of my personal favorite discoveries involved missing letters. At a hockey game some years ago, we visited the concession stand. The menu read: mbo frank, super frank and regular frank. In response to my question about what exactly an mbo frank was, the person behind the counter said that it was a jumbo frank with the “ju” missing.

    The second one is a sign at a old motel not too far from my house that has proudly advertised “olo TV” for as many years as I can remember, and I don’t think they’re talking about Spanish language channels.

    Keep up the good work!

  17. Jan Miele says:

    The biggest typo I’ve ever seen was in lettering about a foot high on the side of a maintenance van out on the tarmac at TF Green airport (PVD) in Rhode Island. The truck proudly displayed the company name. I swear I saw this. I myself did a double… no, triple take. A real eye-rubbing jaw-dropper. Now I wish I’d had a camera and taken a picture, because I doubt most people would believe this. It said:

    UNTIED

  18. Stephanie Miller says:

    I haven’t corrected any signage, but I was irked to find my son’s school was sending out correspondence about an event called “Grandparent’s Day.” Resisting the urge to ask them which ONE privileged grandparent was invited to come, I kindly told the teacher and school administrators about the error and asked if they could correct it to be “Grandparents’ Day” in all further communication and signs for the event. I told them not only did the typo bother me, but I thought it would not send the best message about the school’s academic standard.

  19. Karen says:

    Watched the “CBS Sunday Morning” feature and believe I’ve just joined a support group! My eyes are drawn to typos and I feel compelled to point them out or, in the absence of people nearby, correct them. I’ll start taking pictures…and asking permission 🙂
    Most recent–menu offering salad with “gorgoznola” cheese. I pointed it out and, when I returned to the hotel/restaurant two weeks later, they had fixed it…VICTORY!
    Sorry I missed you in Seattle.

  20. Kim says:

    I’m really sorry if I sound like a jerk, but I’m reading the book right now. On page 39, when mentioning a misspelling, the line reads: The cover promised suggestions for outdoor “activites”.

    The period should be inside the quotation marks.

    I can’t help myself. I hope you all understand.

  21. Joel Goldfarb says:

    I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that you are trying to change America. I know most of the press has reported the humorous side of your quest, but misspellings are a serious problem.

    As a hiring manager, I am appalled by the fact that I can find at least one typo or other grammatical error in just about any resumé or cover letter I receive.. Many years ago when I began my career, there was no spell-check (is it “spellcheck” or “spell-check”?). You just had to know how to spell. You scrutinized your own work to make sure it was not disqualified for some typo.

    Many internal emails at work contain vaste numbers of misspellings as well. I realize many are written on handheld devices and for those I am a little more foregiving. But when people do not know how to spell words like “indefinitely” or when “their”, “there” and “they’re” are mixed up, I just want to cut that individual’s salary by $10,000.

    Thank you for providing a forum me and other like-minded people to express our feelings.

  22. Jann Outman says:

    Love the book and your concept. I used to work at an elementary school and the door to the teachers lounge had a sign that said, Teacher’s Lounge. I am getting your book as a Christmas present for my daughter who is also an english teacher and a book editor. She will love it! Keep up the good work!

  23. Bill Bahr says:

    Tried sending an email, as website suggests, to media@jeffdeck.com, but no response after five days, so will try typo@greattypohunt.com. OTOH, check here for my possibly interesting feedback to Jeff and Benjamin: http://www.bahrnoproducts.com/typo.htm

    Nevertheless, Jeff and Benjamin are due hearty congratulations for a great book and super effort! Direct Instruction is something I’ll really have to check out. Thanks so much, Jeff and Benjamin, for a truly enjoyable read!

  24. Cheyenne McCarthy says:

    During a trip to the local Albertson’s market, I encountered a sale ad peddling:

    “Cogate Tootpaste” — naturally I assumed this product to be Colgate’s letter-lacking generic counterpart. A clever ploy.

    Also, on the walls of my university was a flyer that read:

    “Ink cartidridge drive” — posted by the Psychology HONORS Society, no less. I am so glad that these individuals attend college…

    Committed to grammatical perfection,
    Cheyenne =)

  25. Jan Miele says:

    Home at last after a long day at work, and looking forward to the day off tomorrow, I plunked down on the sofa to watch the news. What luxury! Home before 6:30PM!

    An ad came on about Social Security or some such government program. Anyway, I could not help but notice the banner title across the screen in which they were clearly (supposedly) following the standard of capitalization of all the significant words (nouns, verbs, and such) in a title, with conjunctions and such NOT capitalized.

    And there it was AGAIN!

    It’s starting to drive me batty! The word “is” is a form of the verb “to be,” so it’s a verb, RIGHT??! As in “I am,” “you are,” “he, she, or it is,” “they are,” “we are,” RIGHT?

    So in a title following the above standard, the word “is” should appear as “Is.” RIGHT??!! Well this rarely happens. Almost invariably, it’ll be written as “is.” Because the word is so short, people have forgotten that it’s not the LENGTH of the word that matters, but the word itself. And “is” is a VERB, people! Aaaaarrrrggghhhh!

  26. Michelle Kelley says:

    My class at University of San Diego is joining the typo hunt. The first one I found was actually at the university! It was asking for people to donate their old ink CARTIDGES.

  27. Jeff Deck says:

    Thanks to everyone for their enthusiasm for the cause! Sounds like the future of spelling and grammar is in good hands.

  28. Patrizia says:

    I’m definitely giving your book to my unofficial proofreading maven at work. She checks all my apostrophes and subject verb agreements. Thanks for an entertaining story. Keep up the great work!

  29. JM says:

    Finally…I’ve found my people! Can’t sing, can’t dance, but I can spell (sad, right?)

    One of my favorites is a restaurant in Tomball, Texas, a suburb of Houston. Two different stories are in circulation; the first is that the owners simply did not recognize the misspelling in their building sign at time of installation since English is their second language. The second story says a new owner wanted to ensure people recognized the restaurant was under new management, so he had the letters in the sign switched. Who knows which is true?

    Bottom line…the name of the restaurant is “Golden Pagoad”.

  30. Paul H says:

    I’m an eagle-eyed typo spotter myself. I can’t imagine undertaking such a quest across the continent, but I absolutely loved the book!

    One of the most terrible typos I have ever seen was in my church’s newsletter (this was some years ago in my native London). In a piece about an upcoming weekend retreat the word ‘no’ had been typed as ‘now’ which resulted in this amusingly awful announcement: “Unfortunately, there are now places for children.”

    I attribute this error to the poor handwriting of the minister (who happens to be my father). After this I appointed myself as proofreader!

  31. Jeff Deck says:

    Thanks, Patrizia, JM, and Paul H!

    You all can see that you’re not alone in your yearning for grammatical justice.

    If anybody is able to get a correction made to a sign, don’t forget to send the before and after pictures to typo@greattypohunt.com!

  32. Missy Pires says:

    I don’t always agree with you (thank God, that would be boring), but I have to tell you you are a great writer.

  33. Larry B. says:

    Probably old news but on page 233 of the book “Divers locations” looks like a typo to me… (Unless you were Scuba diving.) I am not trying to be a jerk, it just comes naturally!

  34. Jeff Deck says:

    Sorry, Larry– “divers” is the correct word here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/divers

  35. Larry B. says:

    Thank you. You are correct. I read it as “diverse” which would (I think)also be correct. Larry B.

  36. Jennifer says:

    The local Sears at the Parks at Arlington Mall in Arlington, Texas, has had a banner hanging over their auto-care area for a few years, that says, “We beat all competitors prices.” As far as my education has taught me, the word “competitors” in this case is possessive: the prices belong to the competitors. Therefore, an apostrophe would be required. Or, I think the “s” could be dropped off.

    It’s bothered me ever since it first went up, and I’ve just never felt like stopping in to say something to the store manager (this mall creates a traffic nightmare). It’s not like this is a little local mom and pop shop; nor is it a language difference. This is SEARS.

    I might be wrong on this, but I’ve asked several people and they’ve concluded the same.

    I’m so glad you’re doing this. I’d be curious about your thoughts on the state of the eBook publishing industry. Seems proofreading and editing are being shorted in favor of quicker release schedules. Ebooks are loaded with typos and grammatical errors, most of which do not appear to be results of “conversion” software. (Aside: I used to work on a magazine and we converted our computer files to PDFs and never encountered “conversion errors”.) We’re getting gypped on paying for books that are of poorly written quality not too mention communicating to younger readers that it is okay to ignore grammatical and spelling errors.

    Best of luck to you all.

  37. Jennifer says:

    And, whoa- my own embarrassment at using the incorrect form of “to” in that last sentence above. Seems the older I get, the more those suckers slip out. 🙂

  38. Ramona Rea says:

    Hi Jeff and Benjamin,
    You would be amused and disappointed to see that the Toronto Public Library lists your book in its online catalogue as “The great typo hunt: two friens changing the world one correction at a time”. I pointed out the error and the irony of it to the desk clerk when I picked up the book!
    Looking forward to reading it.

  39. Sheri Bentsen says:

    My husband bought me your book for Christmas. We saw you on “CBS Sunday Morning” and the flicker of kinship lit in my heart. I can’t believe there are so many other typo hunters out there! Needless to say, I keep a mental list of the misspelled signage I’ve seen in our part of Connecticut (Grocries instead of Groceries). I’ve just started reading your book so I’m not certain if you incorporated unclear meanings into your hunt. My favorite is a large sign at the street end of a pet store driveway. It reads, “Huge Puppy Sale”. I have always wanted to go in and ask to see the huge puppy. Not technically a typo but still satisfying to point out. Keep up the great work! I have to get back to your book now…you’ve just fixed the Bread Pudding sign in Maryland and I’m hooked.

  40. Julianne K says:

    I’m halfway through your book and I absolutely love it! Since I was little, I’ve always noticed typos and I naturally edit everything I read; I swear I should pursue a career in editing! I live in Canada and I was wondering if you would ever consider completing a cross-country typo hunt through the Canadian provinces? If not, I do solemnly swear to do my best and make my own trip (providing you with more typos, corrections, and pictures for your collection). I would love to see you visit Atlantic Canada. Happy hunting, go Team TEAL!!

  41. Roger says:

    Thanks for a great book. I loved reading about your efforts to save the world.
    I also find typos everywhere I go. Usually I just groan or use them as examples in my writing classes. Rarely do I get them fixed. I’ll have to join TEAL and start fixing as well.
    What’s sad is how you can expand this and talk about wrong punctuation, grammar, etc. When I talk about subject verb agreement or compound adjectives in my corporate writing seminars, I often see blank looks. We must keep the faith.

  42. Randy Hilfman says:

    Jeff and Benjamin,

    Your book was so engrossing that I had to resist devouring it in one sitting. I have (gently) informed newspaper reporters and columnists over the years of misspellings or incorrect uses of words, e.g., “ying” instead of “yin” and “gentile” when “genteel” was intended!

    I’ve seen the fine print at the bottom of certain restaurant menus talk about the risks of “food-bourne” (calling Matt Damon!) illness instead of “food-borne.” I did leave a note to this effect at one of those restaurants.

    I also once sent a letter to top Target executives (which of course they never responded to) about this message that appears on at least one door of their store in Woodinville, WA (and perhaps nationwide):

    DISTRACTION FREE SHOPPING [needs a hyphen, but let that go]

    OUT OF RESPECT FOR OUR GUEST’S SHOPPING EXPERIENCE, WE DON’T PERMIT SOLICITATION REGARDLESS OF THE ISSUE.
    Only one customer a day, apparently, at this Target store!

    Would love to meet you guys if you ever make it to Seattle again.

    Cheers,
    Randy Hilfman

  43. Cindy Budd says:

    I just finished reading your book and LOVED it! I, too, constantly find typos and they drive me CRAZY! I am a teacher and I hate the idea that my students (and other people) see these errors and may think they are the correct way to spell or use certain words! I have occasionally pointed out the typos I find to store owners, etc. but for the most part have kept quiet. Now that I’ve read your book my silence is over forever!

    As I drive back and forth to work here on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, I pass a hotel/spa with a sign that changes weekly. I have now dubbed the creator of this sign “The Illiterate Signmaker”. One week it said, “It’s time to stop useing plastic bags”. (At least he/she got the “it’s” right, I suppose.) Another week it advertised “Thai Chi Classes”. I’ll bet the Thai people would be shocked to discover that martial art originated in their country!

    Oh yeah, just had to say that I couldn’t believe you were actually charged with vandalism for correcting that sign in the tower in the national park. Only in America, eh?!

    Cindy

  44. Deane Alban says:

    This is temporary typo that occurred when part of a neon sign went out. (I see this sort of thing a lot.) The restaurant is THE BLACK ANGUS. The “G” burned out so it read THE BLACK ANUS for a few months until the sign was fixed. Doesn’t that sound appetizing?

  45. Lisa Farnam says:

    One form of apostrophe abuse that I have not seen addressed is the constant use of a single open quotation mark, i.e., a backwards apostrophe, in the place of an apostrophe. It’s especially a problem at the beginning of words and shortened years (up and at ’em or ’11). I know this a problem caused by “smart quotes” on the computer, but it’s so easy to correct. I see it in ads in the newspaper and on TV all the time. One would think that supposedly professional graphics artists would get a clue!

    I love TEAL. As a proofreader by trade, I too, suffer from this affliction.

  46. Jaye Denman says:

    Hi, Jeff and Benjamin (with a word to typo-vigilant Eileen along the way): I’m reading your book this evening, and wanted to take a peek at your website. I’ll look for public typos in Jackson, Mississippi for you. Typos are one of my major pet peeves–especially in hardcover books for which I pay $30 or more! What’s happened to all the line editors? I’m amazed at all the typos I discover while reading slick, highly-marketed and expensive books of all genres. (So far, I haven’t found any typos in YOUR book.)

    I love the premise of your book and the style of writing. What a terrific idea, Jeff! Jaye Denman

  47. Jaye Denman says:

    Forgot to say that I can really identify with teacher Eileen who wrote before I did. Typos in textbooks must really drive you mad, Eileen. It makes me crazy to find typos in published books that should be typo-free. Jaye Denman

  48. Scott says:

    Just finished the book the other day – fine work gentlemen. I enjoyed it very much.

    I go a little crazy inside when I see a typo. I taught 3rd grade last year and I used to cut out articles from my town’s newspaper and see if my students could catch the typos. I even wrote the editor to thank him for continually providing me with so many teachable moments.

    The worst can be seen here: http://ithoughttheysaidrum.blogspot.com/2011/03/ii.html. It’s the classic it’s/its confusion, but this one is literally written in stone, and right outside of an elementary school no less!

    Keep up the good work.

    Scott

  49. Hi! I just finished reading your book. It was a complete delight, and looking at all of the comments above, it looks as though I have finally found others who not only notice typos, but care about them as well! It is so frustrating when your local newspaper’s editor’s excuse for typos on the front page is that they don’t have the money for proofreaders and, hey, they use spellcheck! Aaarrrggghhh. Typos just tend to jump off the page at me, but as I read blogs online, I see the work of so many writers who do not seem to care. THANK YOU FOR CARING! I will be on the lookout for a winner of a typo in the great Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

  50. Mark says:

    As a junior high English teacher, you can only imagine the schlock I see. I do have a giant board in the back of my classroom where students bring me typos from newspapers, magazines, and even take pictures of TV mistakes with their phones! This is the only way to earn extra credit in my class, and my board is full!
    I’ve only begun your book, but the first quarter of it is amazing; I’ll be recommending it to all my colleagues!

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