Spell-Right (Part 2)

When someone uses “to” for “too” do you call it a spelling error or a misuse of a homophone? I think the latter interpretation is softer than the former. I ascribe to the former. That said, I draw your attention once more to my collection of misspelled signs for some very creative interpretations of the English language. Several of them have more than one error; four of them have the same error and can be corrected by referring to a former post, “The Apostrophe War.” See if you can spot them.

spellright25Here’s a sign I found at a local parking area. Even after I pointed out the two mistakes, it remained, unaltered, in place for several years.

This second is actually a business card from several years ago. I’m spellright23not even sure if they are still serving up their seafood creations. The writer, correctly using “it’s” at the top of the card, used it again – incorrectly – in the body. This one earned me a free dinner! When I wrote a polite letter to the owner, enclosing the card, he gratefully acknowledged the error, pledged to have it fixed, and enclosed a voucher for a complimentary dinner!

In its defense, the Laundromat sign was found in an Acadian community of Canada, where I’ve heard “authorized” spellright24pronounced with no h, but still. Regional differences aside, words aren’t spelled differently on paper just because of a spoken accent, unless we intentionally want to indicate a different pronunciation, and then it’s understood that we are doing so by the context. “Ah’m hungry!” said Billy Bob.

The last two (to? too?) signs have the same error, easy to spot. In one, it appears once, in the other twice. The Car Wash sign (it is two words, isn’t it?) is missing an apostrophe as well. Also, if you peek at the upper right corner of that sign, you see a “cute” spelling of clean. Now we all know that’s intentional…..or is it?

So keep your eyes open and your mind sharp. How many signs do you pass that could use a Spell checker? How many apostrophes are either missing or wrongly included? It’s a game I play that I’m rooting to lose, but I can’t ignore it when it occurs. Like I said, my visual acuity is a blessing .. and a curse.spellright21spellright22


  1. I’m surprised no one noticed the misspelled “launromat” and the missing apostrophe in “owners expense” on the same sign.

    • I assume you meant that no one noticed while the sign was up, not in my blog…. I find that even if people do notice, the owner shrugs and says, “oh, yeah, someone pointed that out to me” and does nothing. Or, more likely, most people (a) don’t notice and (b) don’t say anything!

      • One teeny, tiny thing in their defense. Sometimes it represents a noticeable cost to have a sign re-made. (But shame on both the sign-maker and the customer for not proofreading!)

      • Sorry, but I guess I missed the comment about the misspelling of “laundromat” and the missing apostrophe.

  2. Madeline T

    Reminded me of the WonderBar gift you passed (past) on to (too, two) me. 

  3. I think we should autorize a writ for these vilator’s be hauled away!

  4. Yet another instance where I say – English is too (correctly used) complicated. Have you read Bill Bryson’s book – Mother Tongue? Very funny and very telling. I’d love to hear your thoughts Arlene.

  5. I repudiate that oversight and much as “their,” “they’re” and “there” yet my two flying fingers have made that mistake two!

  6. Marge

    I would like to (correct usage) think that KLEEN is a play on words. However, after reading the balance of the sign, I am not so sure. In several of the novels that I have recently read, I am running across grammar issues that I am shocked to find in a proofread (???) novel.. Maybe we are being too (also correct usage) critical!!!

    • Being too critical? Only my friends would accuse me of that! 🙂

  7. But the to or too issue might be neither. It could just be a typo or careless oversight which spell-checking software doesn’t pick up. We’ve all done that.

    • Of course you’re right! Sad to say, I’ve done that, too!

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