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snopes
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A few days ago I was reading yet another book authored by someone who obviously confused the task of compiling information with the art of writing and came across the following gem of a sentence: "Whether The Beatles should have been told about the impending sale of their music catalogue and publishing company remains a mute point."

Honestly, if you don't know that the phrase is "moot point," not "mute point," you don't have much business writing anything, certainly not anything you expect people to pay to read.

- snopes

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TwoGuyswithaHat
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Which book is that? I want to go out of my way to avoid reading it.

Edited to remove a word in the wrong place.

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In politics, absurdity is not a handicap - Napoleon Bonaparte

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Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:

Honestly, if you don't know that the phrase is "moot point," not "mute point," you don't have much business writing anything, certainly not anything you expect people to pay to read.

- snopes

Amen. [Big Grin]

Reminds me of a letter I was editing the other day that used the phrase "Dire straights". [fish]

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ChelleGame
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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
A few days ago I was reading yet another book authored by someone who obviously confused the task of compiling information with the art of writing and came across the following gem of a sentence: "Whether The Beatles should have been told about the impending sale of their music catalogue and publishing company remains a mute point."

Honestly, if you don't know that the phrase is "moot point," not "mute point," you don't have much business writing anything, certainly not anything you expect people to pay to read.

- snopes

There's truth in that, however most people have brain farts, and odd gaps in their education. Sometimes I'm amazed at the crazy substitutions my mind makes when I'm writing. I know perfectly well the correct word, but what ends up on the page or screen is, well, different.

This is one of the reasons why it's important to read through your writing, and a solid reason for editors.

(And I'll assume I made some ignorant mistake in this post, because that's karma!)

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I'm Dreaming of a White Canvas
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I was just thinking about this having seen yet another post (not on snopes) referring to a "doggy dog world". I have even seen a poster laughed at for using the correct phrase.

Changing "puppet on a string" to "puppy" seems to have become the norm, also.

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Damian
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Perhaps there spell checker is carp and the poof reader was on strike.

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BeachLife
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I've heard people pronounce moot as mute too many times to count. I doubt it was just a simply typo.

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bthyb
WiFi Christmas


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Two mistakes were made - the author used the wrong word, ignorantly or by mistake. Then the proof reader(s) failed to catch it.

I hate finding mistakes in books, but I generally assume the editor fell down on the job, as it's difficult to write without mistakes, and the editor's job is at least partially to catch and fix those mistakes.

ETA a comma.

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snopes
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quote:
I was just thinking about this having seen yet another post (not on snopes) referring to a "doggy dog world"
Yes, that's another "What the heck did the writer *think* he was saying?" type of malformed phrase I see more and more often, along with descriptions of pretty young women as being the "girl next store" type.

- snopes

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by ChelleGame:
There's truth in that, however most people have brain farts...This is one of the reasons why it's important to read through your writing, and a solid reason for editors.

I know of situations where the AUTHOR name was misspelled in the actual journal article. This is after it has been reviewed by each of the 4 authors, an editor, and the proofreader. I have just turned in a paper that I have been writing. It has been reviewed by the authors (at least three times), 2 independent reviewers, AND the editor. I just now found a sentence that makes no sense whatsoever. One of these, "The data shows that gosf sdfsd is not the fact of spacee in view." (Note, I deleted the actual sentence, so I don't have the exact words). I am wondering how the heck that got past ALL of us. Had I not caught it in the page proofs, it would have gone into the journal.

Sit happens... [Wink]

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And now for something completely different...

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NZUL
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Marge "Bart, run like the wind!"
Lisa "Mum, it's wind!"
Marge "Well I'm sorry, I've only seen it written."

Hmm, loses something in text only. [Smile]


I too am amused by butchering of phrases into incomprehensible garbage. Doggy dog world. Mute point. For all intensive purposes. People - take a second to THINK what it is you're saying. Does it make sense? No? Maybe you've got that phrase wrong.

A puppy on a string would be fun to see though. [Smile]

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Canuckistan
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quote:
Originally posted by I'm Dreaming of a White Canvas:
Changing "puppet on a string" to "puppy" seems to have become the norm, also.

I don't even want to know what "puppy on a string" is supposed to mean.

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snopes
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quote:
Two mistakes were made - the author used the wrong word, ignorantly or by mistake. Then the proof reader(s) failed to catch it.
I would think so, but I have no confidence that many books published these days are actually reviewed by any editors or proofreaders before going to press. I've seen published works with too many ridiculous, glaring errors that should have been caught by any competent reviewer who had given the manuscript a single read-through.

- snopes

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NZUL
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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
I've seen published works with too many ridiculous, glaring errors that should have been caught by any competent reviewer who had given the manuscript a single read-through.

There's your failing assumption right there.

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"We don't keep a certified whale-vomit expert on staff." - Larry Penny, Director, Natural Resources Department, Town of East Hampton

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violetbon
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Don't forget the ever popular and lovely "I could care less".
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Esprise Me
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Going through my store's training materials, I've found the following howlers: "six to one, half a dozen to the other, "many incidences of X occurring," "mute point," "for all intensive purposes," "Are you wearing a clean, wrinkle, free uniform?" "pulls his or her own wait," "medicine you have been proscribed," "preform your sidework duties," "we except the American Express card," and, of course, the pluralization of words by adding an apostrophe and an "s."

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"If God wrote it, the grammar must be infallible. Perhaps it is we who are mistaken." -MapleLeaf

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Paulie Jay
O Little Down-Payment of Bethlehem


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I think the problem is that there is too much of a reliance on spell checkers than actual proof reading.

For example, if I run a spell check over the sentences:

"It was a moot point"
and
"It was a mute point"

I get the same result - no problems, gramatical or otherwise.

But a quick proof-read immediately reveals the mistake.

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Arriah
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quote:
Originally posted by Esprise Me:
six to one, half a dozen to the other

What is that one supposed to be? I've always heard this phrase used in a "50/50 chance" sort of way since half a dozen is 6. (unless you mean bakers dozen but "6.5 to one, half a dozen to the other" doesn't have the same ring to it)

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Lainie
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I'm currently reading a book in which one character explains that she met a man in 1969 and they were involved until his death in 1990. Then she says, "We were together for almost 31 years." [Roll Eyes]

quote:
Originally posted by Arriah:
quote:
Originally posted by Esprise Me:
six to one, half a dozen to the other

What is that one supposed to be? I've always heard this phrase used in a "50/50 chance" sort of way since half a dozen is 6. (unless you mean bakers dozen but "6.5 to one, half a dozen to the other" doesn't have the same ring to it)
It's "six OF one, half a dozen of the other," and it means, essentially, that there is no substantive difference between the things being compared.

Edited for grammar. Oops.

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Eddylizard
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Six of one, half a dozen of another. Rather than relating to chance it relares to a consideration of two options neither of which has any advantage or dis-advantage over the other.

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snopes
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quote:
There's your failing assumption right there.
My point was that it's possible some "writers" actually have friends or family give their work pre-publication read-throughs, but that's hardly a valid substitute for genuine proofreaders or editors whose job it is to catch and correct errors.

- snopes

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Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Sometimes it is a case of an overentheusiastic spell-checker.

I'm in a Harry Potter e-mail group, and for a while my spell-checker insisted on wanting to change "Slytherin" to "Lutheran." I caught it most of the time, but a few did slip through.

"Interesting theological commentary," I hear the Calvinists muttering.

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TallGeekyGirl
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Suppose the author used the right word, but the editor is the one who didn't know the phrase and changed "moot" to "mute"? [fish]

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See, if I tell you about it, it won't be a mystery. It'll just be a fact, an ugly, moist fact, squatting on your brain like an octopus. And you don't want an octopus squatting on your brain, do you, son? -- Stan Smith, American Dad

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Astra
The "Was on Sale" Song


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At least it's only a spelling error. I have one paperback that has the plot outlined on the back cover. It introduces the main character as "Danny." However, the book refers to him as "Mike." "Danny" does not exist.

Another book I have makes a minor plot point out of how visitors at a mental institution hand over their wallets because the inmates might use the plastic cards to injure themselves. On the very next page, the main character pulls something out of his just-confiscated wallet.

Whoever edited those two books will not be receiving fanmail from me any time soon.

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This has been yet another... USELESS POST.

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Radical Dory
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It's moments like those I wish I had free copies of Eats, Shoots and Leaves in my purse to hand out.

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"But about the reindeer...what kind of a nose shines? How did he get it? Maybe it's not a reindeer after all. It could be something else."

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James D
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Perhaps it was a bad pun. After all, having broken up decades ago the Beatles have been quite mute since then. Not to mention that not being notified meant that they could protest nor comment on the sale, thus being effectively silenced.

James "Panda's cullenary habits" D.

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NeeCD
Happy Holly Days


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I worked with a woman who said "mute point" all the time, as well as using the word "relative" to mean both relative and relevant. She also thought I was making stuff up when I used the phrase "a fount of useless information." To her it was "font" and a font = Times New Roman or Arial, etc. and there was no other kind. We told her "fount, you know, like fountain?" and she just wouldn't buy it. But at least she isn't an editor.

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Zachary Fizz
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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
I would think so, but I have no confidence that many books published these days are actually reviewed by any editors or proofreaders before going to press. I've seen published works with too many ridiculous, glaring errors that should have been caught by any competent reviewer who had given the manuscript a single read-through.

- snopes

My wife bought me the five-volume hardback set of Aubrey-Maturin novels a few years ago. I am a huge fan of Patrick O'Brian, but had previously only read the British paparback editions.

The hardback edition is very nice, but it is somehow diminished by the universal substitution of HMS Fava for HMS Java.

No doubt the frigate named after the bean was the one defeated in that epic battle with USS Destitution....

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by NeeCD:
She also thought I was making stuff up when I used the phrase "a fount of useless information." To her it was "font" and a font = Times New Roman or Arial, etc. and there was no other kind. We told her "fount, you know, like fountain?" and she just wouldn't buy it. But at least she isn't an editor.

I must admit I thought it was "font", in the "Archaic or poetic" sense of "a fountain or well". (Collins).

Funnily enough, definition 2 of "font" in Collins says "NOUN printing another name (esp US and Canadian) for fount2"; then if you look up "fount2" it gives the definition about typefaces...

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remigo
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
[QUOTE](snip)
"girl next store".

- snopes

I've caught myself writing that. Oh the shame when I saw it on the screen. Thank DYOC for edit buttons. I'd imagine the author was cringing when he saw the "mute point" but, sadly, a print run of books doesn't have an edit button...

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If you don't cry then you just don't feel it deep enough

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smackmac
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Slightly off topic:

When I first heard "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield, I thought he just pronounced mute funny. I had never heard the expression and I was in my early teens.

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Canuckistan
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quote:
Originally posted by violetbon:
Don't forget the ever popular and lovely "I could care less".

This one I can live with. It conveys a note of sarcasm that "I couldn't care less" doesn't.

When I use it, I do so intentionally, precisely for the sarcasm effect.

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jessboo
The First USA Noel


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I just read a book in which a character said 'anchors away'. Isn't it 'aweigh'?

quote:
Originally posted by violetbon:
Don't forget the ever popular and lovely "I could care less".

To me, it makes sense. It's different from 'I couldn't care less", because "couldn't" means you are at your maximum of not caring. 'could' means that you can't even be bothered to try to care less. It's like, I could care less- but it's so unimportant, I just can't be arsed.

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HollowMan
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Canuckistan:
quote:
Originally posted by I'm Dreaming of a White Canvas:
Changing "puppet on a string" to "puppy" seems to have become the norm, also.

I don't even want to know what "puppy on a string" is supposed to mean.
I have actually encountered this phrase. It did make sense though, as it was a song lyric talking about a woman walking a dog.

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I got an idea... an idea so smart my head would explode if I even began to know what I was talking about.

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I'mNotDedalus
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Astra:
At least it's only a spelling error. I have one paperback that has the plot outlined on the back cover. It introduces the main character as "Danny." However, the book refers to him as "Mike." "Danny" does not exist.

I see this often, too. I imagine a lowly office in a publishing/printing firm, hired to handle the cover synopsis for less-than-bestsellers, is being desperately overworked.

I used to find Penguin copies of Vico's New Science in all the chains, basking, "...the New Science even inspired the framework for Joyce's Ulysses." Tsk.

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The salty fragrance of L’Eau D’I’mNotDedalus - made entirely of and entirely for sea turtles.

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