GrammarPhile Blog

Libyan Terrorist Suffers from "Prostrate" Cancer

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Aug 25, 2009 1:50:00 PM

Years ago we had a daily page on our site dedicated to finding a grammar, punctuation, or typographical error a day in the Wall Street Journal. Back then it was an ordeal to actually find an error a day, given that the WSJ was just about the most thoroughly edited paper in print.

We stopped the effort when the Journal's ownership changed and their attention to quality nosedived. Finding mistakes every day now is simply (and sadly) an easy job. But an editorial in yesterday's (8/24/09) edition was just too hard to pass up. It was about the Libyan terrorist recently released from a Scottish prison, as he was suffering from prostrate [sic] cancer.

This mistake was made on the third-most-read page of the paper! So why isn't "prostrate" in their checklist? It should be in every copy editor's checklist of words to zero in on!

Sure, readers know it's a typo (I hope). But what does this do for the quality perception of the Journal? Do they care? Do you care? Does it diminish the Journal in your mind? I have to say it does in mine. I'd love to hear comments from readers.

Topics: errors, proofreading, typo

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