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The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing…
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The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a…

by Jeff Deck, Benjamin D. Herson

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Jeff Deck is a member of what some sarcastically call the "Grammar Police," although in Deck's case publicly misspelled words seem to bother him even more than grammar abuse does. Keep in mind, too, that despite the less-than-kind remarks often directed at Deck and his fellow grammar cops, there are thousands of them out there. Odds are, you know one yourself - or, deep down in your heart, you are one. Deck and his friends, though, decided to take their policing to the next level.

Deck created the Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL), planned a road trip of almost 12,000 miles that would take him across the country and back correcting typos, and recruited three friends who would share individual parts of the trip with him. Along the way, Jeff, Benjamin, Jane, and Josh would encounter every response imaginable from the people whose errors they asked permission to correct, including: indifference, belligerence, amusement, whole hearted support, and in one unfortunate case in which they failed to ask for permission before making a correction, being charged by the government for defacing federal property.

Ultimately though, TEAL's mission would develop into more than just a one-time road trip to correct grammatical and spelling mistakes on a few hundred grocery store, restaurant, and mall signs because Jeff and Benjamin began to realize that the real "point of the mission was to inspire other ordinary people to speak out when they see mistakes." As editors, they knew how important moving beyond the "first draft" is to the clarity of written communication - and that is the message they wanted to spread across the country, one correction at a time.

Those approached by the TEAL team were not the only ones to learn something from the encounters. Jeff and Benjamin, because of the variety of feedback and responses they received from those they approached, found that they had "taken a tour of basic human interactions." From their rather random sampling of humanity, they experienced the whole gamut of reactions from people suddenly faced with unexpected challenges and problems. The TEAL team, it is safe to say, learned as much from the trip as the people they spoke with along the way.

The subtitle to The Great Typo Hunt is "Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time" - a lofty goal, to be sure. Perhaps Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson did not, after all, change the world, but they changed themselves, and that may be the more important thing. Grammar policemen everywhere (and I use the term here in the most complimentary way possible) will enjoy this book. It is a little dryly written at times but it is a true adventure for Deck and Herson's fellow nerds, among whom I count myself. ( )
1 vote SamSattler | Jan 18, 2016 |
I enjoyed reading about the various errors the authors found and in some cases, fixed. I least liked when the authors veered off into the various theories of language. ( )
  JenniferRobb | Jan 17, 2016 |
I really wanted to like this book, based on the premise. Two friends on road trip, correcting all the misspellings on signs and menus. Combining grammar with a buddy movie! Sure!
But the book itself needed an editor for the sheer weight of the unnecessary adjectives and pretentious prose. I'm willing to give the book a little slack, for aiming for the kind of Superhero Saves World intrepid tone, but I don't think the aim was very true. For writers who claim to hold Strunk and White as personal role models to have written something like this? Feh. ( )
  ewillse | Mar 23, 2014 |
I really wanted to like this book, based on the premise. Two friends on road trip, correcting all the misspellings on signs and menus. Combining grammar with a buddy movie! Sure!
But the book itself needed an editor for the sheer weight of the unnecessary adjectives and pretentious prose. I'm willing to give the book a little slack, for aiming for the kind of Superhero Saves World intrepid tone, but I don't think the aim was very true. For writers who claim to hold Strunk and White as personal role models to have written something like this? Feh. ( )
  PatienceFortitude | Mar 6, 2014 |
I really wanted to like this book, based on the premise. Two friends on road trip, correcting all the misspellings on signs and menus. Combining grammar with a buddy movie! Sure!
But the book itself needed an editor for the sheer weight of the unnecessary adjectives and pretentious prose. I'm willing to give the book a little slack, for aiming for the kind of Superhero Saves World intrepid tone, but I don't think the aim was very true. For writers who claim to hold Strunk and White as personal role models to have written something like this? Feh. ( )
  PatienceFortitude | Mar 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeff Deckprimary authorall editionscalculated
Herson, Benjamin D.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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or•thog•ra•phy (ôr-thǒg'rə-fē)

n. pl. or•thog•ra•phies

1.The art or study of correct spelling according to established usage.

2.The aspect of language study concerned with letter and their sequences in words.

3.A method of representing a language or the sounds of language by written symbols; spelling.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Dedication
To Henry Collins

and the grammatical world he'll inherit
First words
1|How to Change the World
June 8-10. 2007 (Hanover, HN) Wherein Jeff Deck, unassuming Editor, has his measure taken by
a flurry of his peers and learns his Destiny is to serve a
Higher Cause; whereupon he recognizes the Sign of his quest in
an errant sign which warns 'gainst either geographic indiscretion
or trading locks of hair. On a fine June weekend in 2007, in the verdant reaches of northern New Hampshire, I decided to change the world.
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The signs of the times are missing apostrophes.


The world needed a hero, but how would an editor with no off-switch answer the call? For Jeff Deck, the writing was literally on the wall: “NO TRESSPASSING.” In that moment, his greater purpose became clear. Dark hordes of typos had descended upon civilization… and only he could wield the marker to defeat them.


Recruiting his friend Benjamin and other valiant companions, he created the Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL). Armed with markers, chalk, and correction fluid, they circumnavigated America, righting the glaring errors displayed in grocery stores, museums, malls, restaurants, mini-golf courses, beaches, and even a national park. Jeff and Benjamin championed the cause of clear communication, blogging about their adventures transforming horor into horror, it’s into its, and coconunut into coconut.


But at the Grand Canyon, they took one correction too far: fixing the bad grammar in a fake Native American watchtower. The government charged them with defacing federal property and summoned them to court—with a typo-ridden complaint that claimed that they had violated “criminal statues.” Now the press turned these paragons of punctuation into “grammar vigilantes,” airing errors about their errant errand..


The radiant dream of TEAL would not fade, though. Beneath all those misspelled words and mislaid apostrophes, Jeff and Benjamin unearthed deeper dilemmas about education, race, history, and how we communicate. Ultimately their typo-hunting journey tells a larger story not just of proper punctuation but of the power of language and literacy—and the importance of always taking a second look.

CONTENTS:

How to change the world : June 8-10, 2007 (Hanover, NH) -- Allies : June 2007-February 2008 (Somerville, MA) -- First hunt : February 23-March 4, 2008 (Somerville and Boston, MA) -- Benjamin joins the party : March 9, 2008 (Rockville, MD) -- Maladies : March 11-12, 2008 (Kill Devil hills, NC, to Myrtle Beach, SC) -- Beneath the surface : March 15-16, 2008 (Atlanta, GA) -- Fear and retail : March 17-18, 2008 (Mobile, AL, to New Orleans, LA) -- Davy Jones isn't a Biblical figure : March 20, 2008 (Lafayette, LA, to Galveston, TX) -- Typos aren't charming : March 26-27, 2008 (Santa Fe, NM, to Flagstaff, AZ) -- Over the edge : March 28, 2008 (Grand Canyon, AZ) -- Pressed : April 2-10, 2008 (Los Angeles, CA, to San Francisco, CA) -- You got a friend : April 12-17, 2008 (San Francisco, CA, to Vancouver, BC) -- Run-time errors : April 22-25, 2008 (Cataldo, ID, to Rapid City, SD) -- The epic chapter wherein heroes battle and the scenery flashes past : April 27-May 1, 2008 (Minneapolis, MN; Madison, WI; Chicago, IL; Bloomington, IN; Cincinnati, OH; Newport, KY) -- Why Hudson can't read : May 2-6, 2008 (Athens, OH, to Cleveland, OH -- How do you deal? : May 11-16, 2008 (Albany, NY, to Manchester, NH) -- The welcome-back committee : May 17-22, 2008 (Somerville, MA) -- Court of opinion : August 10-12, 2008 and the days that followed (Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; Phoenix and Flagstaff, AZ) -- A place for starting things : September 13-15, 2009 (diverse locations in and offshore from the Boston, MA, area) -- Appendix: a field guide to typo avoidance.
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An account of the authors' haphazard cross-country effort to correct spelling and punctuation errors displayed on public signs relates how they discovered underlying truths about America's educational history and racial heritage.

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