Saturday 9 May 2015

New Instagram Absentproof

I have set up an Instagram account called Absentproof. I will still, very occasionally, post here but will put most editing  mistakes I spot there, as it is quicker and easier to post things to Instagram than it is to make a blog post.

Sunday 3 May 2015


I have been resisting coming back to this blog for ages, but today, reading an article about the Armenian genocide in a Financial Times from early April, I found myself unable to restrain the urge to point out how much better the piece might read, had the sub-editor made a few tiny changes.

For instance, reading the passage in the photograph below, I found myself thinking, "How did the Syrian Desert wipe out his family?" If there had been commas added thus - "As a five-year-old boy, Panian endured a forced march, from his native east-central Anatolia to the Syrian Desert, that wiped out his family" - I wouldn't have been distracted:

In the passage below, I got distracted again, this time by the word "nor" - where is the "neither" it belongs with?

In the passage in my final photograph, I once again became distracted by a sentence that could easily have been better constructed. I think the sentence that begins "At Antoura" would work far better if written thus: "At Antoura, each boy was given a Turkic Muslim name and a number" or "At Antura, each boy was given a number and a Turkic Muslim name."

Lots of people would say these things don't matter but, if someone is going to go to the trouble of writing an article, it makes sense to edit it in such a way that the reader is not distracted more than absolutely necessary. Clarity is always the aim in any piece of writing; confusion is the foe. That's how I see it, anyway.

Tuesday 28 January 2014


I've discovered Instagram, and it is so much simpler to post photographs there that I think from now on I will use my account there to do what I've been doing here. If you want more Absentproof, therefore, try zedmkc on Instagram.

Tuesday 31 December 2013

It Makes You Want to Cry

But not in a good way - if ever there was an example of how important it is to get things right, the condolence notice that distracts you with bad grammar must be it:

Tuesday 17 December 2013

I Wish They Would

Perhaps this isn't even a mistake; perhaps Cate Blanchett meant 'take risks'. My suspicion though is that she was referring to 'the canon'. After seeing some of the efforts of her husband, plus his mates Benedict Andrews, (The Maids, shudder), and Simon Stone, (The Cherry Orchard, gnash teeth, and Hamlet, how dare he, jumped up, little - but enough said), I wish the whole lot of them would throw themselves at a cannon - or take a running jump from the Sydney Harbour Bridge (not that you could take a running jump, I suppose):

Friday 20 September 2013

Saturday 20 July 2013

Be Less Specific

So that was London in 2008, but what about elsewhere - or could it be that the odd comma is missing:

Queensland Eh?

Personally, I think he might have hoped for better:

Always Aspiring

Sadly the team at the AFR don't seem to have the same attitude to standards when it comes to copy editing:

I Never Knew It Was a Place

I thought 'PM' referred to a time of day or a political position. I never knew it had a spatial incarnation:

Queensland a Doubtfree Zone

Monday 3 June 2013

The Eyes Have It

When there's glue involved, it's probably sensible to only use it on the eyes of one partner:

Keep It Clean

It only takes one quick run-through with spellcheck to find out how to spell hygiene:


Other than confusing the reader, what is the purpose of the comma after 'coal':

No Need to Make It Worse

If you're worried about readers being confused, it's probably a good idea to make sure you have a pair for every bracket:

Badly Needed Reforms

If the Gonski reforms can teach people to put verbs in sentences, I'm all for them:

How Else Are They Going to Pay Them Then

I'm assuming there ought to be a comma after 'properties', but maybe not - maybe the feds are cracking down on foreigners who sell properties for the purpose of paying capital gains tax. No, surely not.

Monday 22 April 2013


I realise this is hard to see as it is but, if you click on the picture, all will become clear:

Friday 29 March 2013

Getting in Touch With His Feminine Side

Mr Rudd might still be leaving the door open to lead ALP supporters who are Sheilas:

So Much For Medicare

Just a Game of Peekaboo

They're friends really; it was just a party game, designed to give everyone an exciting fright:

What larks.

Plumbing the Depths

I think Ligeti probably went from a position in a government that is plumbing the depths in the polls to a - relatively - plum position elsewhere:

Exciting Times

Politics did get pretty interesting for a day or two there, and in all the excitement one or two journalists seemed to lose control of grammar as we know it:

Counting Can Be Hard

If you're innumerate, it doesn't matter how numerous things are - you can't count them, no matter what:

Poor Stump

I can understand her frustration, but it does seem a pity to ruin a nice seat:

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Come Again

Surely of all geographic entities, Australia, as an island, is among the easiest to define:


I don't think I'm the only person who, on reading this headline, wonders why these people think it's a good idea to toss the shark the odd toe - or indeed any body parts at all. Surely that is like feeding dogs bits from the table and will only encourage the creature to come back for more:

Thursday 28 February 2013

Now Then

'Than' might be a more appropriate word than 'then':

Letting Off Steam

This is completely off the point. There is nothing wrong with the subbing on this item. I just want to say how much I loathe this series of advertisements:
I mean, just, eurgh.

While on the subject of advertisements, I find this one endearingly unlikely to be believed by anybody:
It reminds me of the large noticeboard as you drive into Harden in New South Wales. Underneath the heading, 'Upcoming Events in Harden', the display, each time I've gone past it, has contained absolutely nothing at all.

Ordinals and Cardinals

I think some of the adults who did not complete Year 12 may have been involved in producing this newspaper item:

A Bed, a Bottle and a Private Gym

Wow, that is quite some room:

No Room For the In

In comedies, she's been in a revelation, but we aren't told what kind:

Something Missing

I suppose it's possible that a company is really called 'oOh!' and that its CEO is really called 'Brendon', but there is no chance at all that an 'of' isn't needed in there somewhere:

Such a Worry

The prospects for the ALP appear so grim to Graham Richardson that he has lost the ability to write good English: