Some Spelling Mistakes Are Permanent

Some Spelling Mistakes Are Permanent

Everyone makes spelling mistakes online, and they’re relatively easy to correct. Mistakes on printed signs are a more permanent source of embarrassment, as the above example demonstrates.

Yes, when I look at this sign, I think about eating a chicken schnitzel burger. But I also want to take to the sign with a red marker and make corrections, and there’s a part of me thinking: “If they don’t care enough to spell the name of their products correctly, do they care enough about hygiene?”

And then I think: “I bet they can’t spell hygiene either.” Because, as we never tire of pointing out at Mind Your Language, if you take the attitude that sloppy spelling doesn’t matter in some contexts, you soon find yourself in a state of permanent sloppiness. Accuracy matters. Now I’m off to find a burger.

Lifehacker’s Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


  • A cafe which has pictures of its food in the windows? Usually a bad sign! Excuse the pun.

    Besides the spelling, the other obvious concern is the mayo dripping, crumbs in the photo, the lack of a plate, the clearly frozen bought-in chicken piece, the bought-in sugar buns.

  • that particular sign is on the milk bar in hornsby, they serve possibly the worst food i have ever eaten. i also got pretty terrible food poisoning. so, if it is possible, they care even less about the quality of the food.

  • Well it’s not like they will be changing it any time soon..? So there’s no real point, except nit picking, to single it out. It got your attention, so obviously it’s doing its job. Just another pointless spelling post really, isn’t it..?

    • The permanency is the point. If you think the Mind Your Language series is pointless, why do you always read them and then leave narky comments on them?

      • I read them because they are on the site! I thought the whole idea of writing articles on LH was to get comments about them? It just so happens that you constantly try to (imo) teach people about grammar and I don’t believe this is a grammar teaching forum. When you write these kinds of articles you encourage those who are obviously well learned in Grammar to think they have a right to correct other peoples grammar. This has happened many times before and I personally think it’s rude to virtually stand behind someone’s shoulder and correct there grammar errors. I have no real issues with you personally Angus, I just think this is not the place for teaching Grammar. No doubt there will be a major shit kicking in this for me right now, well so be it. There are those that will agree and those that won’t and no doubt they will fall into the “I have a right to teach on this forum” category.

  • There is a “Wrapz” outlet in Sydney that has a ‘Beef con carne’ wrap. Given that ‘con carne’ is Spanish for ‘with meat’ it is ‘beef with meat’. Not a spelling error more a translation error, but still made me chuckle.

  • In the UK I’ve noticed that it’s usually the signs with text etched into metal that are the most rife with typos.

    In any case, it appears that “if you can’t spell, become a sign-writer” applies just as much as it ever did.

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