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I live in a small town served by a small-town newspaper. The paper is owned by Gannett, however, so in theory it should have pretty high standards of journalism. Usually it does, but too frequently there are errors that are impossible to overlook.
For example, in yesterday’s paper there was an article about vacation homes. It was an interesting piece and I read it closely. In the middle, I came across these three consecutive paragraphs:
The atmosphere was tranquil and peaceful, and the perfect place to lay back in a hammock and enjoy the quiet. Beautifully kept grounds and acres of endless lawn provided the perfect location for my little ones to run to their hearts content without the concern of a busy road or traffic.
It truly was the perfect getaway, and it seemed like, for a few days, we had our own little piece of paradise.
You may be surprised at the amount of vacation rentals available right in our own back yard.
Are there no editors? Three consecutive paragraphs, each with one or more errors. There are no excuses. None. I don’t care if it’s small-town paper or a high-school weekly. No wonder the skills of readers and writers are deteriorating if experienced journalists find this junk acceptable.
I count at least four, arguably five mistakes in those three paragraphs. Want to play along? Can you spot all five? Post in the comments below. The first person to identify all five wins a copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss (although that person doesn’t need it—I should give it to the author of the article instead).