Image by mlhradio via FlickrGood grammar and spelling are evidence of clear thinking and, frankly, just plain paying attention. So, in principle at least, I'm all for these two guys who went across the US correcting public signs and then did the American thing: wrote a book about it.
This bit of their odyssey seems a tad extreme (from Globe and Mail article):
They... ran into trouble at the Grand Canyon where they were arrested for fixing bad grammar in an official sign. A federal judge fined them $3,000 and banned them from speaking publicly about fixing typos for a year, a period that expired in August of 2009.Banned from speaking about it for a year? I mean, I know Canadian human rights tribunals can make these kind of rulings, but I frankly doubt this could happen in the USA -- even though countless sources are basically running the same article as the Globe and Mail. I did a quick search and found this from the 2008 Arizona Republic:
Jeff Michael Deck, 28, of Somerville, Mass., and Benjamin Douglas Herson, 28, of Virginia Beach, Va., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Flagstaff after damaging a rare, hand-painted sign in Grand Canyon National Park. They were sentenced to a year's probation, during which they cannot enter any national park, and were ordered to pay restitution.Sounds more likely.
Common typo errors include "unnecessary" quotation marks, and misplaced apostrophe's. Personally I believe every word that contains an unnecessary apostrophe is balanced by a word that is lacking one; this maintains the cosmic equilibrium and prevents our universe from collapsing in upon itself.
A couple of fun sites that cover this sort of thing include:
Apostrophe Catastrophes - The Worlds' Worst. Punctuation;
The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks.
For a tutorial on "quotation marks" and apostrophe's:
Quotation Mark Wiki.