Thursday July 7, 2011
Spot the error
By OH TEIK THEAM
EACH funny story below contains an error. Can you spot it?
1. “I’ve just read your sad, short story in the magazine. It’s very good. Who wrote it for you?”
“Who read it to you?”
“Sad, short story” should be “sad short story”. The first adjective (“sad”) modifies the whole idea that follows.
2. Two secretaries are discussing their work over lunch. “I hate filing. Sometimes I feel like throwing the paper puncher against the wall,” says one. “Although I try my best to be careful, I can never find the papers I’m looking for. I forget where I have filed them.”
“I had that problem, too, until I thought of a clever solution,” her friend says. “Now I make twenty-six copies of everything I file and file one under each letter of the alphabet. That way, I can’t miss it!”
“Paper puncher” should be “paper punch” or “punch”.
3. The tight-fisted boss had a nightmare in which he said to his employees, “The office will be closed tomorrow in observation of the tenth anniversary of my wife’s new dress.”
“Observation” should be “observance”, which is an act of following a law, ceremony or custom. “Observation” refers to an act of watching or monitoring: The patient was kept under observation by the doctors.
4. “You put a mouse in your sister’s schoolbag?” the mother said to her six-year-old son. “How could you do that?”
The boy replied, “I couldn’t find a frog.”
“How could you do that?” should be “How could you have done that?” We use the present perfect tense because the action (“that”) has already been done.