The whole bunch (for just the latest additions, see the
main Wretched English page):
Typo in a local community weekly newspaper, in the
Police Blotter section:
At 3:14 a.m., a man was observed operating a vehicle
in an erotic manner.
The Alberta Government announced approval for overnight
stays in a particular private medical clinic. The announcement was accompanied
by several PDF files, one of which was the minister's criteria for assessing
these kinds of requests. The file was named
[Jon D. Brehaut]
Typo in a recipe transcription:
Stew for 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes, their
juice and the sock.
Further down in the same recipe:
Or make a mound of rice in each owl and spoon the
soup around it.
From the June 2002 issue of Vintages, the
LCBO's monthly magazine of wine news and reviews:
Ch‰teau Montelena is the winery that started the
California wine craze when they shocked the vinous world by winning
the legendary 1976 blinding tasting in Paris.
[I'll bet they were shocked (as they groped their
way to the door!). Diana Tyndale]
From a blurb in the program for an event honouring
...his dog-eared perseverance...
[ Don't you smile at the mental image that conjures?
On the packaging for a metal odor-removing disc from
Efficient economical unusable
Headline from the Globe and Mail online:
Talks cancelled after suicide bombing re-scheduled
following Palestinian leader's denunciation of terror
[So, what was rescheduled? The talks? Or the suicide
bombing? Warren Harbeck]
From an ad in Time magazine:
Istanbul is a city of dozens of uncounted mysteries.
From a box for an office appliance:
[I don't plan on shredding many hands, though I think
it will work well on paper when I turn the handle. Dawn Hunter]
The nutrition information from a 120 gram package
of Nong Shim Neoguri Udon:
[Do you suppose I should see a doctor before
eating that much salt? James Harbeck]
From a health article:
women of childbearing potential should bake reliable
birth control methods
[Hmmm... I guess this would be the Martha Stewart
method. Trish Rawn]
Instructions for a baking contest:
Cover your baking with plastic wrap and indicate
your name (and if it contains nuts).
[Cheri (nuts) Frazer]
Sign on an otherwise unmarked door down a corridor
in a small Toronto threatre:
DO NOT ENTER WHEN DOOR IS CLOSED
Headline from a CP article in the Calgary Herald:
to guard PM
[After I wondered which PM had been charge
with drug dealing, I read
the first sentence of the article:]
A Halifax RCMP officer charged with drug trafficking
was headed to Ottawa to become a bodyguard for the prime minister before
he was arrested, a TV news program reported Tuesday night.
[By then I knew who had been charged with drug dealing,
but I had to read on to be sure no prime minister had been arrested.
Topic for a meeting of the Alberta Association for
Teachers of ESL:
Enhancing Stress in the ESL Classroom.
From a health news article:
Research has shown that at least half of the time
couples have difficulty conceiving, a male component is involved.
Headline in a Perth, Ontario, newspaper:
Perth's water continues to pass
A hand-written ad for a seminar at a psychology conference:
"Neurotic conflict resolution by eating disordered
[So far as I know this methodology has not caught
on widely. Michael Rowan]
The washing directions on the hang-tag of a scarf:
[I can almost envision the Korean manufacturer on
a bad phone line to his cousin in the States confirming what should
go on the tag: "What Separately? M. Wlochal]
Subject line of a spam:
Attract Men with Bigger Breasts!
[Not usually what I look
for in a man... Riça Night]
Subject line of a spam advertising toner for printers:
From a packet of Chinese snacks:
To Agitate Family
[Actually, in Chinese, it means that this snack will
bring excitement to anybody who eats it. Olyvia Wangsa]
From a flier for a fall fair:
You might all like to come out on Friday evening
for the Variety Concert and the Crowing of the Fair Ambassador.
How "Mushrooms and toadstools" was translated in a French version of an article on
Champignons et excréments de crapaud.
[There seems to be a lack of clarity here as to the
difference between toadstools and toad stools. James Harbeck]
From Michael Valpy, Lunch with Tensin Palmo (Buddhist nun), Globe and Mail,
Saturday, 17 August 2001:
She laughs. She has a pleasant, light, peeling laugh, perhaps like the
meditiation bells of
Wisdom and Emptiness she kept in her cave.
From a student essay on intimacy:
Intimacy includes lots of things: trust, understanding, communication.
When Intimacy is between two people who are really serious about each
other, it can lead to bugger things.
A sign in a Home Depot:
Duel nozzle hose
[What a good way to relieve sibling rivalry on a hot day! On the other hand,
maybe a few knights' lives could have been saved if such a thing had been
available in the Middle Ages. Sue Innes]
From an article in Fauna magazine:
They [the western banded gecko] are often observed foraging for small
arthropods by walking through their habitat at night with a lantern.
From an online help file:
This key only activates radio buttons that are de-activated. Questions that
need to be answered by activating the appropriate radio button are given
multiple options (two or more). By default, one of the option radio buttons
will be activated. If you would like to activate an option other than the
one activated by default, move to the desired option radio button using the
<TAB> key and press the <SPACEBAR>. This will activate the desired option
radio button and deactivate the one activated by default. For example, when
indicating the gender of the Applicant, you may want to activate the Female
radio button. Since the Male radio button is activated by default, move to
the Female radio button using the <TAB> key and press the <SPACEBAR>. This
will activate the Female radio button and deactivate the Male radio button.
A sign just west of Edmonton:
The overpass has moved to the other side of the highway, about one km west.
[...takes personification a shade further than I
normally recommend Jim Taylor]
From Canada News Wire, 20 April 2001:
Russian oil money helps British blind children and motorists.
[So that's why they drive on the leftthey can't see where they're going
From an ad:
Large Rear Parking.
In an article about beer event marketing:
you could sin instantly.
[Tee hee Elizabeth Cockle]
From a typescript for a textbook:
The development of urine tests for chlamydia, rather than inserting a swan
into the urethra, may encourage more men to be tested.
[An alert inputter commented "ouch! changed to swab." Gilda Mekler]
From a box for a cell-phone case bought in Tokyo:
North Ahead! for your mobile style "North Ahead"
has sense "to progress forward", and his name, Maekita, has
become an origin. The former north he had run mop manufacturing comapny,
but it was developed somehow whether other quotations materials cannot
use formula technique of own company end thought about. An impression
of commodity has turned sports-line of one apparel company into... Those
commodity goods produces big whirlwind to tote goods industry.
From a piece of spam advertising an "erotic aphrodisiac" (are there
any other kinds?):
[The name of the product] is a term used to refer
to Passion Devas within the "Esquimax Grimoire"; an obscure
Tantric metaphysical text (Tantra being the art of carnal exploration
which seeks the accomplishment of spiritual solvency via sensual and
[Very obscure, I would think. I kind of like the concept
of spiritual solvency; I guess it's the opposite of moral bankruptcy.
But what really got me was one of the product endorsements, which claimed
that The libido enhancement
is aggressively aggressive. Gilda Mekler
From a book club brochure:
The prices for the books and merchandise in your Club magazines will
be priced in American dollars. You will be billed in Canadian
dollars, at a favourable conversation rate.
A sign in a grocery store window:
Part-time boys wanted
A sign at a print shop commemorating a recently deceased employee:
With thanks and in memorandum
Found in a desk calendar featuring dog breeds:
A rottweiler's size alone may overwhelm and endanger a small child, no
matter how well behaved it is.
From a dentist's advertisement:
Whether it's our toys, our decor, our treasure chest or our kids flavoured
fluorides, our young patients learn that taking care of their teeth can be
[Kids flavoured fluorides? From the makers of Soylent Green, perhaps? David Handelsman]
From a corporate memo:
business must be more competitive in an increasingly global world
From an article on insect stings:
To avoid insects and bites, avoid wearing brightly coloured clothing,
strong flowery perfumes, overripe fruit and clover fields.
[But I like wearing overripe fruit and clover fields!
From a teacher's guide:
Before reading this section of the chapter, discuss what it is like to
grow up, both male and female, in Canada.
[When did they start teaching the kids about Hermaphrodites? Wendy Scavuzzo]
From the Globe and Mail, June 17, 2001, page A6:
But a vote is extremely unlikely this fall, especially now that Mr.
Chretien's trusted chief of staff, Jean Pelletier, will be off having
knee-replacement surgery all summer.
[Will there be just one surgeon, or will they work in shifts? (this comment
courtesy of my husband, Rich) Julia Cochrane]
From a Québécois
winery's Web site, describing their game farm:
After he pass betwin the woods
and the meadoes,where you will see many kinds off different animals.
all fenced in bigger or smaller fields.You will see some animals
not too much communs in these regions, like ancient wild texas
long horn that live before the new breeds, it is good to preserve
there old gene for the future needs maybe. some emeus from australia,
europeen dears, reas from south america, wild boars cheep breed,
and further some pure breed off grate value with much wild life
and the best meal, red dears, Highland coming from north Scotia
with lond hair in the face and nice horns, eight pares of fantasist
pheasants,lamas different ages, yacks coming from india in Hymalaya
they call them cows with horse tail.
[The site is http://www.la-bauge.com/aani.htm. Naturally, one should commend
them for at least trying, and thank them for the inadvertent
Some material on near-death
experiences informs us that some people see:
manifestations of Jesus, Buddha
or Allan, depending on one's faith.
[I thought I knew
the major world religions, but who believes in Allan? Audrey
From a teacher's guide:
Some student should try to duplicate
the results of others "duplicity" is an important
part of the scientific process.
From a school textbook
(before being edited out):
These borrowing transactions
comprise Canada's unmanured debt.
[We're given no
information about the manured debt, but I presume it's the part
that grew so quickly. Gilda Mekler]
Next page of the same
Treasury bills are offered in
detonations ranging from $1,000 to $1 million.
[Now I understand
why public debt is such an explosive topic. And they have the
nerve to call those things securities! Gilda Mekler]
In notes for teachers
(before being edited out):
Students should outweigh the
pros and cons.
From a company's financial
Support for Single Headed Families!
withheld by request]
A slogan on a dentist's
For Excellency in Dentistry.
[My dentist is
good, but not THAT good! Judith Johnson]
From an Australian
newspaper, about the retirement of a champion racehorse:
The horse has now ceased racing
and will be put to stud where it is already booked to service
Found in a Grade 5
science text manuscript:
DO NOT use boiling water because it could scold you.
[So, let's all be safety conscious, and we won't get
yelled at! Rosemary Tanner]
From a Web announcement
for a customer service position:
SALARY: Commiserate with experience
A store-wide page
made in a Wal-Mart:
I have a customer by the balls
in toys who needs assistance.
From Michael Valpy's
column in the Globe and Mail, 14 June 2000, referring to Mehmet
He was also planning to shoot
the king of England, until he found out she was a queen.
[Or maybe Betty
Windsor is more flexible than we knew! Eric Mills]
From a community newsletter:
Mr Smith, a father of four, has
made many forays into virgin territory.
From a home improvement
BISQUE: The finish that refers
to the unglazed areas of fixtures inside tanks of at the bottom
of toilet bowl foot that are made of china.
From a Premier Fitness
"daycare available free on sight babysitting"
[I thought, their
motto has to be "If we see your kids, we'll take care of
'em!" David Handelsman]
In England, the "MOT"
is a compulsory safety test for older cars. A garage down the
DRIVE IN WHILE YOU WAIT
Seen last year:
"Prolong your enjoyment of Dairyland Eggnog by freezing
for six months"
[I thought that,
as Canadians, we already did that! Joanna Monro Gray]
A large sign on a
door in a Royal Bank in Calgary:
[I don't think
the rest of the bank was going anywhere either. Tricia Armstrong]
A company that does
income tax announces:
Fast refunds don't bring money.
[They don't? I
thought that was the definition of refund. Gilda Mekler]
From a poem:
The endless fields run endlessly
[As any kid would
say, duh-uh. Gilda Mekler]
From a notice posted
on the front door of an office to let
clients know that the company had moved to a different location:
...sorry for the convenience.
[Talk about taking
customer service to new heights! Jennifer Bridgman]
From a tailor's window
customer made suits
definition from a home improvement website, nearly mathematical
or musical in its repetitions:
The imperfections in timber that are generally caused during
the growth of timber by high winds or imperfect conditions of
From a university
Galileo tried to explain that religion and science if interpreted
properly could coencide together, however in the end he was convicted
by the church of hearsay and put to death.
From Longman Preparation
Course for the TOEFL Test:
Study the following examples:
I will leave at 7:00 if I am ready.
Although I am was late, I managed to catch the train.
[And no, they
didn't intend it to be an example of an ungrammatical sentence!
And it's not the only error in the book! David Handelsman]
Caption of a picture
in a newsletter of some very earnest-looking women:
Newtworking at lunch on Saturday were (l to r)...
[Is that like
frogmarching? Rosemary Tanner]
Sign for a Toronto
Destiny Reform Specialist.
[If your destiny
can be reformed, you sure don't want an amateur doing it. Sheila
From a package of
FUNCIONS OF LOHANKUO & SHESHECAO:
To sleek sexual organs, recuperate the
lungs, stop coughing, remove sputum, and It is ofthen used to
treat cases such as lung heat, drg dough, sore throat and aphonia,
*Antipyretic Natidotal, salivant and thirst quencher.
*It removes rheumatism and is diuretic, principal cure for all
carbuncle, furuncle and cutaneous abscess.
*Constant drinking will prevent and remove pimples.
*Good for too much smoking, Wine and restlessness.
*Sickness contracted through air pollution.
She She Cao (Beverage) is manufactured with fresh Herba Oldenlandia
Diffusa and Scutellaria Barbata. It is processed in a progressive
and scientical way, retaining its original effectiveness. Nourishing
and delicious, conveniently packed. It can be taken continuously
without any by-effects....
Dosage: 20g. per bag dissolves instantly in both cold or boiling
From the Times,
28th March 2000:
Dr. Alex Comfort, author of 'The Joy of Sex' has died, after
a series of strokes.
in the BONG Bull, by way of Judyth Mermelstein]
From a recipe for
a salad to serve 20:
Individually boil green beans, yellow beans, and carrots.
[My instant vision
was of hundreds of small pots. My daughter suggests adding a
note along the lines of "Make this recipe when it's your
turn to watch the community's children on a rainy day."
Regarding the stolen
Oscar statues, from the L.A. Times web site, March 2000:
They are made of Britannica alloy, a high grade of pewter, that
is then electroplated with cooper, nickel, sliver and 24 carat
Chambers' Dictionary, Britannia
metal is an alloy, mainly tin with copper, antimony, lead
or zinc, or a mixture of these, similar to pewter. A cooper
makes barrels. A sliver is something I prefer not to get
under a finger nail. Whether Britannia metal is a high grade
of pewter is a matter of opinion. At least three errors, possibly
four. David Ibbetson]
Further submissions are invited. Please send them