by Carol Williams

Some people get spooked by the ghoulies and ghosties that are everywhere on Halloween. But at WriterGirl, ghastly punctuation, horrific spelling and hair-raising sentence structure make us shudder more than any goblin ever could. Especially since bad writing and mediocre proofing are a year-round horrorfest.

Of course, once we stop cringing we start laughing when it comes to epic writing fails found on real signs and captions like these. (Bonus points for spotting all the errors.)

Violators will be towed
and find $50

Hmm. Crime does pay — as long as you park in the wrong spot.

Please use caution
when hunting
pedestrians using walk trails

We’ll stick with wildlife, thank you very much.

Perfection has it’s price

If that’s the case, we’ll assume no one got paid for this sign.


We’re pretty sure this restaurant sign was meant for soldiers, not servers.

Private customer parking only.
All others will be toad.

Not to be confused with being frog.

Toilet ONLY for
disabled elderly
pregnant children

Best to leave this one alone.

NO soliciting or
trespassing violators
will be prosecuted

Looks like solicitors and trespassers have free reign at this venue.

How about these scream-worthy captions from local news shows?

Rich Howard, Scuba Diva

And they say fly fisherman are the drama queens.

Report: [Lance] Armstrong used rugs

Flying carpets instead of bikes? No wonder he had to return his medals.

School two easy for kids

But too hard for the caption writer?

I’ve made plenty of writing mistakes of course, so I’ll ease up on the snark. Besides, these signs and captions help remind me that proofreading everything I write for public consumption is a vital part of creating quality content.

Here’s a little test that makes a big point along those lines:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are. The olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitil raed it wouthit any porblem. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mind deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

If your mind was true to form, as the test above states, you probably “translated” that paragraph pretty easily. This shows we don’t spot typos in our own writing because our brains go into recognition mode. Except for glaring issues, most mistakes get lost in the overall sentences.

It’s scary to think how high the chances for error become when we proof our own work. Sure, it takes extra time to have a reliable proofreader double check (and fact check!) what we write. But it’s worth it to avoid the horrors of costly writing errors.

After all, perfection has its price. 

Have you come across (or made) any funny grammatical errors? Leave your comments in the section below.