Typos that make my teeth hurt

I confess that in the past I carried a marker so I could edit the signs in my local supermarket. Potatos got an e; green bean’s got an apostro-ectomy. Typos still make my teeth hurt, but technology has stymied my shopper editing. Now I have to send helpful texts or emails to serious offenders, while trying to do it with good humor or at least some grace.

Today I sat in a one-hour webinar where the speaker repeatedly described the easy-to-use software as “simplistic.” Not “simple,” which would have been correct. Simplistic means over-simplified or treating something complex as if it’s simpler than it really is. (I did take the opportunity to point out the teeth-grating error in my webinar evaluation.) 

The mistake that seems to plague every publication, website, blog and social media app I see is the misuse of “its” and “it’s.” I silently scream every time I see it. And sometimes point out the error to its perpetrator.

I’m always pleased to see those words used correctly: When the landlord asked about this month’s rent check, Kim said, “It’s on its way.” Isn’t that easy? If the usage you’re considering can be replaced by it is, then you need an apostrophe. A possessive does not need one.

Here are a few more linguistic errors that make me groan. This post is a work in progress and I will add examples. You can suggest additions, for which I will happily credit you.

Tons of, for things that should not be measured by weight.  I am so tired of hearing that “tons of people lined up to buy the new iPhone” or “we have tons of people here to take your call.”

Comprised of, rather than comprise (the whole) or composed of. Comprise means describing the whole; composed of, like including, can be less than the whole.

— Predominate, rather than predominant. As is “Iowa is predominately an agricultural state.”  Predominate is a verb.  Predominant is an adjective and predominantly is the correct adverb in this case.

— Decimate. It really means destroying 10 percent of something, not demolishing the whole.

Antidote, rather than anecdote (often a spoken error).

— And so on.

One Comment on “Typos that make my teeth hurt”

  1. mgreen49 says:

    My favorite was when I was an ice cream man (a long time ago) and stopped the truck at a softball game. I asked the members of one team where they got the name of their team and they said it was their sponsor, “Ralph Realty”. I studied the shirt a little more and said, “No, that’s Ralph Reality.” They didn’t believe me.


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