Columns and stories of life from the Fredericksburg area.
RED PEN: Buffet vs. Buffett – let’s dish
BY LAURA MOYER
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
MY COLLEAGUE Bill Freehling always gets it right.
When he writes about a Buffett—usually Warren, sometimes Fredericksburg’s own Doris, rarely Jimmy—he spells the last name thus:
Because that is how the name is spelled.
If you spell it “Buffet” with one T, as many, many people seem compelled to do, you are not talking about Warren, Doris or Jimmy.
No, if you spell it “buffet,” you are talking about one of those serve-yourself meals with cut-up fruit, piles of bacon and French toast, and omelets made to order.
ONCE WOULD BE ENOUGH
“She testified that he threatened to kill her several times.”
I’M FLUBBIN’ IT
Sam Overman of Dahlgren shared this bit of text from a McDonald’s drink cup:
“Did you know that a portion from each Happy Meal or Mighty Kids Meal sold are donated to the Ronald McDonald House charities?”
You’d think McDonald’s would be able to spring for some competent copy editing.
But “a portion are donated”? Subject–verb agreement would be helpful here. A portion is donated.
Further, “a portion” of what? I would bet the intended meaning is that a portion of the proceeds from each meal will be donated. But this says a portion from each meal will be donated.
The apple slices, I’ll bet.
Nancy Lichtman forwarded me an email from son Sam Lichtman, who is 12 and just finished seventh grade. Nancy said Sam found a mistake while reading the paper during breakfast.
Sam’s subject line was “That’s a clown error, bro.” Here’s what he wrote:
Dear Ms. Moyer,
I found an error on the bottom of page C1 of Thursday’s paper. The error was in the second paragraph of the article “Couple Robbed in Spotsy Motel.” The offending sentence said, “The couple told deputies that a heavyset man armed with a handgun and a thin woman entered their room.” That sentence could be misinterpreted to mean that the heavyset man was armed with the thin woman.
Sincerely, Sam Lichtman
Great catch. Great letter. I sent Sam a red pen.
I am still smiling, and not just at the idea of the heavyset man using a thin woman as a weapon.
It fills me with joy and hope to know that a 12-year-old reads the paper over breakfast.
Laura Moyer of The Free Lance–Star is a lifelong compulsive copy editor. A version of this column appeared in her Red Pen blog on fredericksburg.com. You can reach her at 540/374-5417 or firstname.lastname@example.org.