Category Archives: Funnies

Guardian’s “needs legalling” typo highlights trend for ‘verbing’ nouns

The dangers of typing a sub’s query into a text doc these days is that it doesn’t go through endless proofreads before a web ed presses publish, as this Guardian interview with Lynne Featherstone today shows. [Thanks to Andrew Stuart for the spot on Twitter.]

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Does any sub out there know of a workaround for this, apart from a thorough final read on the preview? Isn’t there some kind of app that can prevent you from publishing BEFORE queries are dealt with? (Developers, note: there should be!)

I checked just now and the typo has been removed from the browser – who reads the Guardian in the browser these days? – but it’s still there on my phone app, which downloaded at 3am.

The lesson here is that, once live, there is no recall in digital.

The article is instantly sent out to RSS feeds and soon downloaded via apps to iPads and mobile phones, cached by Google, etc. Copies are made – and the error is OUT THERE. Deleting the offender at source won’t cover you – the source has shifted, the nature of digital is to make copies.

Which is fine, you just need to understand the lay of the land.

But what did irk slightly was that the sub has turned a noun into a verb; legal into ‘legalling’. (In my print days, you’d ring the offending par on a printout and mark ‘legal?’ or ‘ch: legal’ next to it, then ring the lawyer.)

Why the sudden ‘verbing?’

The verb-to-noun trend was also a hot topic in my Twitterstream this week – or, to hammer home the point, it was ‘trending’. Here’s a flavour:

The tweets also linked to a couple of nice reads, which show the trend is partly down to the rise of new tech and the need to create words for all the new stuff:



The Verb: Why do we sound so dumb when we talk about communication? Maybe because our verbs aren’t really verbs.

I’m sure I do it, ahem, verbally, and as a joke, but not in the day job. What’s your take on this? Is ‘legalling’ just in-house jargon? Is ‘verbing’ part of the flux of a living language or just plain wrong?

Let me know. Until then, I’m off to de-border my flowerbed and then maybe do some Facebooking.

Woman in sumo wrestler suit causes sub to wet their pants over lesbian-ex-lover-chocolate-jealousy-assault story and triggers global Twitter alert over mega-deck tabloid headline

Headline is the story

Thanks to Solo1Y for spotting this header.

Guardian pullquote in herey herey type

Dummy copy

Dummy copy left in The Guardian

I guess this is why they call it dummy copy. Hat-tip to Jack Kirby for this lovely miss by Guardian subs. Can anyone confirm which issue it was in?

Strip search finds crack between buttocks


A gift of a story for the sub-editor generates another classic naughty headline, this time courtesy of WYFF4 television station in South Carolina (via Common Sense Journalism). Did this make the TV news too? Would love to have seen the anchor deliver the line.

Starting to gather quite a collection of rude heads – see Top 10 rudest headlines in the world ever, possibly from the hyperbolic list era of 2008, and some more recent headline funnies.

Girls’ school still offering ‘something special’ – head


Fantastic! Can’t believe I missed this one but I shall belatedly add this to my list of naughtiest headlines. Did the sub know? Or is it a classic blooper? It’s been  fixed for the online edition but the lovely internet has already archived a scan of it and sent it around the world. (It was sent to me by an Aussie journalist friend who saw it in The Australian.)

Reminds me of the time I left a reporter’s headline on a music review and got roundly told off on delivery day for ‘Sweet folk all’.  You can read the story of that in my post on the Top 10 rudest headlines in the world ever, possibly.

Typos from real life: Renualt


Far more fun that spotting a typo in 9pt in a newspaper or magazine, is spotting one in big, fat, silver letters on the back of a van – check out this Renault on the move in Birmingham today.

Or should I say Renualt?


How did this happen? Subversive, disillusioned, overtired or dyslexic production line engineer, or simply a typo? (Here are 153,000 others who also prefer the alternative spelling of Renault.)

Quick pics by Pete Ashton.

Nose abatement – not quite the new Wanky Balls

But still a rather lovely headline typo NOT spotted by the subs of the Birmingham Post and another indicator that inaccuracies can a story make (cf Wanky Balls). It’s getting comments so maybe it will stay. Spotted by Getgood.

Nose abatement headline

See, typos can be good.