Top Five Spelling and Grammar Mistakes – part two.

Top Five Spelling and Grammar Mistakes – part two.

In January 2018 I published an article called Top Five Spelling Mistakes in Published Pieces of Work which you can read by clicking anywhere in its title. Although that post is somewhat dated in terms of style, when I re-read it I enjoyed the contents (contrary to popular belief a writer can’t remember everything they’ve ever written). This post is a sequel, of sorts. I discovered an old draft which contained several unused entries and since the article’s publication there have been several globally recognised spelling mistakes that are worth talking about. I present five more examples of spelling and grammar mistakes and hope you enjoy.

1) Taylor & Sons 

In 2009 Company House, a government run agency that acts as a registrar for other companies in the UK, recorded that Taylor & Sons Ltd, a welsh engineering firm, had folded after just under one hundred and fifty years of trading. The owner of Taylor & Sons, Philip Davison-Sebry had seemingly fled the UK when his company declared bankruptcy, implying he was both trying to escape the fallout and that something dishonest had taken place within the business. Customers who had placed orders with the company demanded refunds while suppliers refused to deliver any more materials. Taylor & Sons entered liquidation and over two hundred employees were laid off. All it all, it seemed like a sad end for a company that dated back to eighteen seventy five.

When Phillip Davison-Sebry heard that his company had entered liquidation, he was on holiday in the Bahamas for his wife’s fiftieth birthday. He flew back to the UK and made a horrendous discovery. A clerk working at Company House had mistaken Taylor & Sons Ltd for the company Taylor & Son Ltd. While the Manchester based Taylor & Son had declared bankruptcy, Taylor & Sons was doing fine. Although Company House issued an apology and a correction, Davison-Sebry successfully sued them for eight million pounds in compensation. Despite this, he was unable to revive his company and in a cruel twist of fate the Manchester based Taylor & Son was able to re-establish themselves with the publicity they received from the media.

All of this because someone left out a single letter.

2) The Mariner 1 Space Probe

The Space Race was a dazzling side show during the events of the Cold War. Both the USA and the USSR competed to be the first superpower to place a man on the moon. Although the USSR were the first to send a rocket into space, an animal to the atmosphere space and later a man into orbit it was, of course, America who reached the moon first. However at the start of the 1960’s America’s victory seemed like an impossibility as the first NASA launches were plagued with failures. One embarrassing incident was the aborted launch of the Mariner 1 Space Probe.

The Space Probe was built with the intention of performing a fly-by of the planet Venus and transmitting its findings back to Earth for study. During the launch, Ground Control noticed that the guidance systems of the probe were causing the craft to veer off its designated flight plan. A command was sent to the probe to readjust its trajectory but instead of following the order the probe over corrected, propelling itself back down to Earth. Fearing the number of ground casualties that a crash could cause, Ground Control ordered Mariner 1 to self destruct.

The destruction of Mariner 1 cost the US Government $18.5 million and was an international humiliation. When NASA launched an investigation to ensure that future craft would not meet the same problems, they discovered that the crash was caused by one missing character on a punch card. At the time of the launch, computer code was written by hand before being transcribed via punch cards into a computer and beamed directly to the probe. During this transcribing process a worker for NASA forgot to add an overlain (this symbol ‾) after a calculation.

Three months after Mariner 1’s destruction, Mariner 2 was successfully launched and reached the planet Venus on 14th December thus becoming the first man made object to reach this interstellar system.

3) Air Canada Flight 143

The story of Air Canada Flight 143, also known as the Gimli Glider is so astounding, I’m surprised Hollywood hasn’t turned the event into a film.

On 23rd July 1988, Air Canada Flight 143 was traveling at forty one thousand feet when both engines failed simultaneously. When the flight crew, Captain Bob Pearson and First Officer Maurice Quintal, examined their controls they reached a horrifying conclusion. Their aircraft had ran out of fuel, mid-flight. 

The pilots consulted their emergency manuals only to find that as a plane running out of fuel mid-flight was thought impossible, the situation had not been planned for. Their plane was at the mid point of its voyage and out of reach of any major airports. While the plane had sixty nine souls on board, both the Captain and First Officer were aware of the risk of ground casualties should their aircraft crash in a populated area. Captain Pearson was an experienced glider pilot and was able to keep the plane airborne while First Officer Quintal and Air Traffic Control searched for a landing spot. Quintal suggested crash landing at RCAF Station Gimli, a closed air force base where he had once operated. Despite the fact that the base had not been built to accommodate commercial flights, Captain Pearson agreed and aimed his aircraft at the base.

On their final approach the pilots noticed black dots scurrying around the structure. Unknown to the crew or air traffic control, the military base had been reopened as a motorsports arena which was hosting a go-kart race. It is unclear who raised the alarm but when the audience noticed the rapidly approaching airplane, panic erupted, as thousands of spectators tried to evacuate at once. After the event, Captain Pearson recalled seeing two boys on bikes cycling off the runway, passing three hundred meters off the right hand wing. When Air Canada Flight 143 hit the tarmac the front landing wheel buckled under the aircraft, creating drag which helped bring the plane to a stop. The nosecone came to a halt thirty meters from the end of the runway. Nobody was killed. 

Air Canada Flight 143 behind several abandoned go-karts

Air traffic investigators recovered the Air Canada Flight 143 black box and soon deduced the cause of the accident. The plane had been loaded with forty five percent of its required fuel. Due to its close ties with America and England, Canada has two different metric systems. The ground crew counted the fuel in pound/litres while the cabin crew worked in kilograms/litres. Both Captain Pearson and First Officer Quintal was suspended for several months but after a public backlash in the media they were reinstated and received medals for their bravery.

4) Emma Watson’s tattoo 

Several years ago I seriously considered getting a tattoo. The lyrics “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?” from the musical Hamilton would have been inked over my heart. The tattoo would have been a reward to myself for publishing Empty Nights and the lyrics had (if you pardon the pun) stuck a cord with me. I chickened out of the idea because I don’t like pain or needles but I continue to admire tattoos if they mean something significant. I also enjoy laughing at tattoos with spelling mistakes. 

One person who you would be surprised had a tattoo with a spelling mistake is Emma Watson, of Harry Potter fame. I don’t like celebrity gossip columns so we will gloss over this entry before discussing another Harry Potter related spello (pun not intended). In 2018, to show her support for the Time’s Up movement, which aimed to fight sexual harassment in the film industry, Watson had a tattoo reading Times Up on the right arm. Unfortunately Watson’s tattoo was missing an apostrophe. Watson was able to make light of the situation and as the tattoo was temporary no harm was done. 

Emma Watson's tattoo

In June 1997, the Bloomsbury publishing group issued the first print run of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Not having much faith in the children’s book they ordered a measly five hundred copies and donated the first three hundred to public libraries. These five hundred books are special for several reasons. Firstly the author’s name is listed as Joanne Rowling, not J.K Rowling, the print number is 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and in Chapter Five Harry Potter’s shopping list reads “1 wand” twice, implying that Harry would have duel wielding two wands in his adventures. This mistake was fixed from the second edition onwards but to read more about these rare books, click anywhere in the sentence. 

5) Australia $50 bank note

A numismatist is someone who studies and collects coins from different locations and time periods. As we are embracing a cashless society in which most transitions are done with the tap or swipe of a bank card (I don’t think I’ve carried cash since the year 2019) coin collecting has become something of a niche hobby and a dying art. In some regards is a shame as depending on the rarity of the coin, it can be worth more than it’s actual value.

In 2019 Australia issued a new $50 bank note. Despite being a former British colony, Australia uses dollars instead of British pounds and unlike Britain the a $50 pound note is in common circulation. One side of the Australian bank note features Indigenous author David Unaipon while the other side shows Edith Cowan, the first female member of Australian parliament. Behind Cowan is the image of a lawn before a grand house. Upon closer inspector the lawn is actually a famous quote by Cowan although it can only be read with a magnifying glass. The quote reads:

“It is a great responsibility to be the only woman here, and I want to emphasise the necessity which exists for other women being here”

Unfortunately the word responsibility is spelt responsibilty, with a missing I. Strangely the note was in circulation for six months before the spelling mistake was spotted. (Side note: can you imagine being the person who spotted the spelling mistake? No-one would believe you.) The Reserve Bank of Australia apologised for the mistake but confirmed that the note would still be accepted as legal tender, promptly ending rumours of an economic collapse.

Thank you for reading this website post and I hope you enjoyed. I also hope I didn’t leafe any spelling mistakes myself. Stay safe and I’ll see you next time.

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