GrammarPhile Blog

Proofreading Nightmares

Posted by Sara Richmond   Oct 27, 2022 10:30:00 AM

10 Cringeworthy Grammar Fails

I used to work for Amazon’s print and disc on demand company. The only relevance that has to today’s post is a nightmarish mistake I made while there.

There are names for the different versions of books as they progress through production. Galleys, for example, are near-finalized advanced copies sent to readers for the sake of reviews, (hopefully) great press, and such. A “proof” is a prepublication version printed as a single book for the sake of checking for errors. And so on. The different versions of prepublication/pre-live-sale books were always identified by an extra page with big bold letters so there could be no confusion.

The system to print different versions of said books was clunky and about 400 years old in software age. I write that to soften my stupidity and guilt.

I was asked to print 300 regular-old “can be sold” versions of a book for a publisher. I submitted the order to production. Approximately eight minutes later, I nearly swallowed my tongue and flipped backward out of my chair when I realized I’d selected “galley” copies. I grabbed my supervisor, and we ran out to the production floor. We explained the issue to the head of production, probably while waving our arms like jellyfish. He stared at me but was kind enough to keep his judgment to himself. The production crew stopped the print run, but they’d already printed off a sizeable number. A honking-big clump viewable from the parking lot: beautiful perfect books ready to be bought, except they had a glaring first page that read “NOT FOR SALE. GALLEY COPY.”

I wasn’t fired, if you were wondering.

Maybe the people who made the following mistakes felt just as teeny-weeny and sad as I did that day. Maybe they were lucky, and they still don’t know what folly they introduced to the world.

Either way, their mistakes (and mine) are your fodder for laughter. Enjoy!




Next up on the company calendar: sexual harassment training, “When ‘Just Being Nice’ Isn’t Nice.”




A single sentence can destroy our faith in humanity. This may be that sentence.




Is this a spelling error or an accurate description?




If someone could please provide the temperature range for “ass cold,” I’d be much obliged. And why the quote marks around “warming up”? Is it meant facetiously?

“We’re moving into warmer temperatures. And by warmer, I mean colder. Hahaha.”





I’ve heard tell that “misspell” and all its prefixed and suffixed forms are often misspelled. Ironic, no? Based on this picture, “bird” is actually the more difficult of the two. Who knew? Also, that’s a great price for a conversation starter.

“No, my dear Leonard. In my family, we pronounce it ‘brid.’ It’s part of our dialect—our elite heritage, really.”

“You mean your Nebraskan farmland dialect?”




You have to visit the local presbytery for that. Or a highly skilled veterinarian.




It  was reported that the restaurant was called about the spelling error on their sign. So they fixed it. Two questions: Who’s going to tell them? Will it only bring more sorrow?




“Mommy, what’s so funny?”

“Nothing dear. Read your phonics book.”

If I were the superintendent, I’d be out there in my jammies with a can of spray paint. Heaven preserve us.



            It’s a toss-up, really.




Do they have shaving or provide shaves? What will my nuts do? What if I don’t possess said physical features? And just to be stinky, I have to ask: Are the barbers air conditioned? How does that work?

If I keep picking this apart, I’ll go nuts.

I hope you had just as much fun with these as I did.

Do you have any favorite grammar/spelling fails? We’d love to see them. Drop a comment below. As always, thanks for reading!


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Topics: grammar errors, grammar mistakes, grammar fails

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