Something To Celebrate—National Proofreading Day-Otherwise Known as Red Pen Syndrome Awareness Day

By Cathy Taylor

3-1-13child wins gunThe date of March 8th has been designated as a day of support for all of yougrammarphobes out there who suffer from the dreaded obsessive-compulsive disorder known as The Red Pen Syndrome.  Characterized by the irrepressible urge to correct any and all grammatical errors that fly before them, Red Pen Syndrome affects a significant portion of the population, particularly old retired school marms.

National Proofreading Day was created by Ms. Judy Beaver in honor of her late mother, a lady who had an annoying penchant for perfect punctuation and spelling.  She claims that her mother loved to intercept the love letters she would receive from her boyfriend, correct the errors in red ink and return them to him.

Unfortunately, not many people take the time to proofread what they have written anymore. Not much attention is paid to proper grammar, punctuation, spelling or syntax.  And sometimes, even when a piece is mechanically perfect, it is the stupidest thing you’ve ever read.  And the biggest offenders in this category are—you guessed it!—newspapers.

To help you celebrate National Proofreading Day in style, here are a few newspaper headlines, captions and corrections that were actually printed in newspapers around the world that really could have used a little proofing!

Headlines That Need No Further Explanation:

From The County Extension Educator: “Bugs flying around with wings are flying bugs.”

From The Associated Press: ‘Missippi’s literacy program shows improvement.”

From The Enquirer: “Princess Diana was still alive hours before she died!”

From The Toronto Star: “Marijuana issue sent to a joint committee.”

From The Express Times: “Homicide victims rarely talk to police.”

From The Register-Guard: “County to pay $250,000 to advertise lack of funds.”

From The Utah Star: “Poison control center reminds everyone not to take poison.”

From The Atlanta News & Observer: “17 remain dead in morgue shooting spree.”

From The Athens Times: “Threat disrupts plans to meet about threats.”

From The South Haven Tribune: “City unsure why the sewer system smells.”

From The Colorado Springs Independent: “Statistics show teen pregnancy drops significantly after age 25.”

Headlines That Need A Lot of Explanation:

From The USA Today: “Republicans turned off by size of Obama’s package.”

From The AP Wire: “Tiger Woods plays with own balls, Nike says.”

From The UK Sunday Sport: “Gordon Ramsay sex dwarf eaten by badger.”

From The DeKalb News: “Hooker named Lay Person of the year.”

From The Norton Register: “Police arrest everyone on Feb. 22nd.”

From The Boston Globe: “Man executed after long speech.”

From The Associated Press: “Puerto Rican teen named mistress of the universe.”

From The Ethiopian Herald: “Ford, Reagan neck in Presidential Primary.”

From The Houston Chronicle sports section: “A-Rod goes deep, Wang hurt.”

From The Milford Citizen: “Red tape holds up new bridge.”

Headlines That Are Just Plain Insensitive:

From The New York Times: “Chick accuses her male colleagues of sexist remarks.”

From The Biloxi Sun Herald: “One-armed man applauds the kindness of strangers.”

From an unknown source: “Mayor Parris to homeless: Go home!”

From The Detroit News: “8 year old Waterford boy saves sister’s life—Says he wouldn’t do it again.”

Headlines That Should Have Earned Reporter a Raise and Keys To The Executive Washroom:

“DOE to do NEPS’s EIS on BNFL’s AMWTP at INEEL after SRA protest”

“Woman in sumo wrestler suit assaulted by ex-girlfriend in gay pub after she waved at man dressed as a Snickers Bar”

“Kayaking is difficult when the water is frozen”

“Man with 8 DUIs has drinking problem”

“Breathing oxygen linked to staying alive”

“Dam road sign keeps disappearing”

“People think aliens must be more smarter than us”

“Lawyers back despite use of bug spray”

Newspaper Quotes, Comments and Corrections That They Never Should Have Bothered Printing:

“Correction: The Jumble puzzle, which appeared on page D1 of Thursday’s edition, actually was the puzzle scheduled to appear today.  The Jumble originally scheduled to appear on Thursday, as well as answers to Wednesday’s puzzle, are on page E1 today.  The answers to the puzzle published today appeared Thursday, and the answers to the puzzle published Thursday will appear Saturday.”

“Notice: After you park in the back, remember the stores on the right are now on the left. Please park in the back and stay to the left.”

Letter to the editor: “To all you hunters who kill animals for food—shame on you.  You ought to go to the store and buy the meat that was made there, where no animals were harmed.”

Quote from feature article—”Debra Jackson said she like shopping at the Dollar Palace because it is convenient and casual. She says, ‘I don’t have to get all dressed up like I’m going to Wal-Mart or something.’”

Lottery winner announced in Associated Press article—”The winner is Matthew Good, of Fountainville, who asked to remain anonymous after claiming his prize.”

Classified ad for cake auction to benefit a police department function: “Entry must be a real cake with no Ex-Lax in the frosting and cannot resemble any body part.”