Glutten-Free: Some Spelling Mistakes Are Stupidly Permanent

Online spelling errors are irritating but easily fixed. A mistake on a sign is more expensive and more permanent. Here are three examples — all within a five-minute walk of each other — that show why it's important to develop the habit of attention to detail whenever you write anything.

I noted all these instances in Newtown, inner-city Sydney's hipster capital, during a visit over the weekend. First up we have this end-of-aisle display in the local Foodworks supermarket:

As we've noted before, there's a big difference between stationery and stationary.

A little further along, we discover a novel spelling for a day of the week:

And elsewhere, we have a restaurant which has an unusual take on the spellings of both "steak" and "gluten", and also falls for the wrong spelling of complimentary:

Definitely one to fix the next time the menu gets reprinted.

Mistakes happen — but we need to strive to identify them and fix them. Accuracy matters.

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


    Angus, how many times did you proof read this just to make sure you didn't make any errors?

    Are you the person standing behind your co-workers shoulder, pointing out their grammar mistakes?

    Last edited 02/03/15 3:47 pm


      Last edited 03/03/15 7:14 am

        *co-workers' shoulders

          Either "co-worker's shoulder" or "co-workers' shoulders" is acceptable, depending on whether it is referring to the shoulder of a single co-worker or multiple co-workers

    well you could use complimentary or complementary if you're talking about a salad that comes with your steak.

    Long Life Milk doesn't move, so isn't it stationary? Unless your milk walks away.

      A as in Train, E as in Pen

      If it does walk away, it'll be pasteurise before you even notice it's missing

    My spelling is so bad I see nothing wrong with what these people have written........thanks to spellchecker I don't have to worry with being a terrible speller.

      Unfortunately, spellchecker is a lot less proficient at correcting grammar and punctuation misuse. Additionally, life in general is full of people who associate orthography with attention to detail.

    I wonder at the sign-writers' motives. Are they painting these errors in hopes of getting the repair business or are they just as illiterate as their customers?
    Lately, I've seen "Every dog has it's day" and "Taste of the Hills at it's finest" proudly emblazoned on prominent signs. They could just plug these phrases into Google and see that they'd be auto-corrected...

      On the plus side, they got their places of business featured on lifehacker.
      Any publicity is good publicity... Right?

    Im looking at you Hobby Fix 146 Marion Rd West Richmond. Professionally printed on your front windows as your ( trademarked...ha. ) slogan.... " time wait's for no one "

    For shame.

    I'm more worried about the fact they are telling people that their meat is gluten free. Gluten is a protein found in things like wheat, barley, and rye.

      Yeah, but this restaurant is pointing out that its meat is prepared in an environment that ensures it remains glutten free all the way to the table.
      Also - the pork medallion thingywingy says it is served with chips, and chips are often not glutten free.

        Which for the overwhelmingly majority of people shouldn't even be a concern. I guess you can't let a silly trend slip by without jumping on board & trying to make a few bucks outta it.

          Actually, I think it's very important for coeliacs.

            That is why I said "for the overwhelming majority of people". Coeliacs have a legitimate, diagnosed medical problem.

    My guess is that they paid for a sign-writer, not a proof-reader.

    Never commissioned a sign-writer, but have organised large format print banners for clients.

    Generally the arrangement was that they'll produce what they're asked to produce, exactly as requested.

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