Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Grammar Patrol

The Perrysburg Messenger Journal is a weekly newspaper that’s published in Perrysburg, Ohio; the town where I grew up. It’s a good paper, full of local news and events; I even had them run an announcement about my parents’ 60th anniversary last month. They’ve had portions of the paper on-line for several years now, and I make it a point to stop by there every week to check up on what’s doing back home.

You would think that a newspaper would be pretty careful about proof-reading, especially when they are a paper that has been around for over 150 years. I realize that the internet is a new-fangled device and they may have farmed out their website to some private contractor who has more of an interest in keeping the site current than doing a spell-check or a rudimentary glance at their punctuation. You would think.

But a couple of months ago they revamped their site and put a new home page up with a brief history of the town and the paper. When I first read it, I spotted at least two typos and one misplaced piece of punctuation. I sent a note to the editor helpfully pointing them out, but nothing happened. Oh, well, I thought, maybe they’re too busy. So I waited a few weeks to see if they’d caught them. Finally I noticed a change in the punctuation error. But instead of fixing it, they just made it worse.

Here are the offending paragraphs. See if you can spot them.

This website and its weekly news update continues the newspaper’s 150-year tradition as the repository of local news in the Perrysburg community.The Perrysburg Journal began publication on March 10, 1853, disseminating news and information in Perrysburgh, a river town surrounded by the Great Black Swamp. With a population of about 1,800, Perrysburgh was the county seat.

The Perrysburg Messenger (1935) and the Perrysburg Journal merged in 1965. Robert and Dorothy Welch have owned the newspaper since 1969.No longer the county seat, Perrysburg now is a growing, thriving suburban city of about 17,000. The oldest newspaper in Wood County, the first issue of the Perrysburg Journal included President Franklin Pierce’s inaugural address.

[…]

Again, welcome to Perrysburg and to its’ newspaper, the Messenger Journal.

Once an English teacher, always an English teacher. But I can’t read the site with those hanging out there like sore thumbs and not setting my teeth on edge.

By the way, when I make typos (or tyops, as I call them), I have a reliable proofreader who will frequently call me on it. Maybe I should have him call the Messenger Journal.