We learn – hopefully – from our mistakes!

It is said that it all happens in the real world. The following all happened in the real world:

Volume 1:

An Open and Shut Case!

Weekend Sport supplement, Irish Examiner, April 2013:

An excellent article by one of its correspondents in the aftermath of the U.S. Masters golf tournament, featured a quote by an official who saw something amiss with regard to the writer’s pants.

‘Just to let you know, sir, you’re [sic] fly is undone.’

The writer finishes the piece with: ‘Right to the end, it was all about the details.’

There’s no need for any further comment.

Confusion or Clarity?

May 2013: R.T.E.1: Six One News: ‘…after the S.D.L.P. decided not to not oppose the measure.’

June 2013: Irish daily newspaper: ‘…his injuries were not described as not life-threatening.’


The State Examinations Commission in Ireland confirmed that there were errors in the Junior and Leaving Certificate Examination Papers of 2013.

Creativity at its best!

An advertisement on a D.A.R.T. (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) railway platform for soup had sixteen ‘ands‘ in one sentence. Brilliant, but don’t try it in an exam!

Carelessness at its worst!

The guest information directory in a very nice seaside hotel in south Co. Dublin had over sixty grammatical corrections inserted by a guest. I wonder did (s)he visit all the rooms!

An exercise in word-building needed!

June 2013: Irish Examiner: ‘…she would be the eight fatality.’

Back-to-School Time!

Six One News (again): ‘Last night’s revelations by R.T.E. has disturbed and shocked the nation.’ (Plural noun ‘revelations‘ requires a plural verb ‘have‘ for noun / verb harmony.)

2 FM radio presenter: ‘…should have went (gone)…, should have went (gone)…’

And on and on he went.

Advertising Campaign in Tatters!

A global, tyre-manufacturing company wrote ‘your‘ instead of ‘you’re‘ on golf balls.

Your (You’re) playing with my. . .’

Out of bounds before a ball is struck!

A Plague of Insects on the Way!

June 2013: www.eircom.net homepage:

‘Up to 100,000 to flea (flee) flooding in Canada’

Under Pressure!

June 2013: Statement from a T.D. who resigned as chairman of a political party:

‘I have seeked (sought) to secure change for the members.’

Although this mistake was read from a prepared script, I suppose that the past participle of ‘seek‘ doesn’t roll easily off the lips. Coupled with the fact that this person had just announced his resignation, he is excused! And I’m a floating voter.

Cowboy Bankers!

The cartoon that is featured at the start of the section ‘Top 20 Mistakes’ refers to the word ‘inciteful‘ (which relates to the encouragement of unlawful behaviour) being written in a teacher’s C.V. instead of the word ‘insightful‘ (which refers to having accurate and comprehensive information on a subject).

The release of the Anglo Irish Bank audio tapes in June 2013 of conversations between some of its top executives in 2008, resulted in – besides national and international outrage, disbelief, contempt, despair and embarrassment – explanations of both words in the same sentence in one instance. One of the executives explained what exactly would happen to the bank further down the line (‘insightful‘ in hindsight as it turned out), while the language / tone / context that were used could well be considered ‘inciteful‘ . He had it all worked out.

Accept at your Peril!

As punishment for this basic mistake, the journalist must write all words in the dictionary that come after ‘accept‘, except

Irish Examiner: July 2013:

‘They all, accept Sean, claimed they thought the order…’

Serious Consequences of a Misspelling!

July 2013: The Irish media reported that a banker’s conviction was quashed because of an invalid warrant. Among the five flaws were a misspelling of the address and a misdating of the warrant.


BAD NEWS: A Dublin road marking reads: ‘LOOK RITGH‘.
GOOD NEWS: There’s an arrow pointing to the right above the words.

Look right

Coining New Words: The power of the media and the masses!

Presenter of Newstalk’s Off the Ball: ‘Which would you have rathered (preferred)?’

Here, the adverb ‘rather‘ has been turned into a verb. I’m sure that it will catch on – if it hasn’t done so already.

Other, fast-disappearing words are ‘sneaked‘ (now ‘snuck‘), ‘dived‘ (now ‘dove‘) and ‘ground‘ (now ‘floor‘).

Joe the man!

Despite criticism – regarded as unfair by some – from some players and managers, it was, indeed, a superb performance by the R.T.E. Saturday / Sunday Game pundit, Joe Brolly, in his after-match analysis of the Tyrone v Monaghan All-Ireland Senior Football Quarter Final at Croke Park on 03/08/2013. Ignore what Joe said about the tactics of the victorious team and what was said about Joe by disgruntled others; ignore words like ‘rant‘ and ‘tirade‘ which were aimed at the magnificent Joe.

Fellow panellist, Colm O’Rourke, said that Joe didn’t ‘live in the real world‘. And Colm was right. Because nobody ‘ranting‘ in the ‘real world‘ would’ve been able to deliver a two-minute analysis without saying an ‘em‘ or an ‘eh‘ every few words while in the process of being constantly interrupted by his colleagues and the presenter. The brilliant Derryman, however, carried it off effortlessly and with admirable aplomb. The language flowed out of the stupendous Joe like a spellbinding, flowing, attacking move by the All-Blacks themselves.

The fantastic Joe deserves a bigger stage than an R.T.E. rugby studio. I wonder if everybody spoke with such passion about their subject of choice, i.e. as if in a rant, would all ‘ems‘ and ‘ehs‘ be eliminated. It was both a man-of-the-match performance and an All-Ireland winning display by the peerless Joe. Incidentally, Joe doesn’t need to be ‘ranting‘ to speak articulately. His flawless contribution at half-time was par for the course. The ‘ranting‘ reminded me of ‘pengate‘ at Italia’90 when an exasperated and livid Eamon Dunphy threw his pen on the desk when complaining about the tactics of the Irish manager, Jack Charlton, in the 0–0 draw with Egypt in Palermo in Sicily.

But Joe wins, hands down!

A bad start before even a ball is kicked!

A new radio advertisement for Setanta Sports (promoting its new package for the 2013/2014 Premier League soccer season in England) featuring two of its staff, went like this:

‘How are Setanta Sports performing so far this year?’

Superb‘ [sic].

A full-sentence reply should have been: ‘They are performing superbly.’

(Not a superb performance by Setanta, I’m afraid.)

Should have seen it coming!

Weekend Sport supplement: Irish Examiner, 17/08/2013

Twitter quote from a Leitrim footballer: ‘…value would of [sic] been halved. . .’

Weekend Sport supplement: Irish Examiner, 31/08/2013

Twitter quote from a Cork footballer: ‘…there would of [sic] been…’

Too right!

Weekend Sport supplement: Irish Examiner, 17/08/2013

Twitter quote from a Meath footballer:

‘Great too [sic] hear Amhrán na bhFiann [A Soldier’s Song – The Irish National Anthem] being played at the World…’

Sworn to Secrecy!

Presenter of an R.T.E. Radio 1 show: August 2013

‘Nobody has sweared [sic] at us today.’

Spring / Sprang / Sprung!

R.T.E’s Six One News, sports bulletin, August 2013 – prepared script

‘A 14/1 outsider sprung [sic] a surprise at…’

Not easier said than done!

Veteran commentator with Sky Sports, August 2013

‘…has the easier [sic] of the three shots.’ (Use ‘easier‘ when comparing two nouns and ‘easiest‘ when comparing more than two.)

Anything for a harmonious life!

The No. 1 Mistake in Everyday English: No agreement in number (singular / plural) between noun and verb.

Front page of the Irish Examiner, 31/08/2013:

‘There was [sic] calls for the H.S.E. to review…’

While it’s common enough for journalists to make this basic mistake on TV and radio panel shows, it’s rare for them to make it in print. Thankfully, there was a happy ending to this story – in the Examiner’s online edition, the word ‘were’ was used. We’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the journalist …or maybe some other journalist …or maybe some kind of eagle-eyed editor …or maybe that guest who stayed in the Dublin hotel.

I wonder what the Minister for Education thinks of this!

Judging by the Tánaiste’s [Irish Deputy Prime Minister] interview on the R.T.E. Six One News on 31/08/2013 in relation to the centenary commemoration of the 1913 lockout, it appears that he must have read the Irish Examiner prior to the interview because he said ‘…while Jim Larkin and his colleagues was [sic] forming the Irish trade union movement . . .’

The bad news for ‘are‘ and ‘were‘ is that they could be subject to more government cutbacks in the next budget!

Take your pick!

Put the blame on typos, apathy or bad spellers.

www.eircom.net home page – latest news – 31/08/2013

‘Dublin preapres [sic] for Seamus Heanye’s [sic] funeral.’

It’s not on, really!

An advertisement in the Irish Examiner, 31/08/2013:

‘Baby Shopping At It’s [sic] Best’ —— (Its best is not good enough, I hasten to add.)

Game off!

Irish Daily Mirror, 02/09/2013: Front Page Headline regarding the Dublin v Kerry All-Ireland Senior Football Semi Final

‘…greatest game off [sic]all time.’