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Are you sure that's right?

Typical errors and misprunts (sic)... with the book (shame!)


We here at TEE Towers have done our best to try and get this book into as perfect a condition as possible. Even more so with this book as it is, essentially, a book about English errors. 


But when we get it wrong...


Well, this is what it says on page 22:


"But you can be assured that I am probably sitting right now in constant fear that, with all the analyses, double-checking and triple-checking conducted in this book, I and the rest of the team may well have missed out something, and that I am still wondering if some of the examples I have given could have been explained better, or that I have mistyped something, or – perhaps my greatest fear – that someone will email me and say, NOT TRUE, you are telling us all lies, and I thought your book was an official rulebook!!!"


And now it has happened. Despite our best attempts to keep our spectacle prescriptions updated, our laptops with the latest applications such as Windows 8.1 (Although we now have Windows 10 loaded and ready) and Word 2013, drinking lots of strong tea imported from the UK, coffee and cola to keep our attentions going, and even rereading this not once, twice, three times, four, and even more (and even now!), DESPITE all this, some of you eagle-eyed readers have still found things. 


So while we change our opticians, brand of coffee and have our English proofing worthiness certificates reevaluated, here are some of the problems you have spotted so far...


An anonymous reader has found a mysterious index entry:

'What is humoqr?'


Okay. Page 287... the index entry should say 'humour/mood'. Hmm...


Another individual from Germany exposes our lack of knowledge as regards social media on page 211:

'The # symbol in Twitter (and in many other computing contexts) is properly called a "hash", not a "hashtag". "Hashtag" is the term for the entire keyword prepended with a hash.'


Sorry. I got confused by the fact that the # symbol is only a hash. The hashtag term is only used when saying the entire keyword. So the last paragraph on page 211 should read: As an extra note, with social networking sites such as Twitter, the hash symbol '#' before a word or phrase is then read as 'hashtag' followed by that word or phrase. So if you see, for example, the '#' symbol before 'mistakes' (#mistakes), you would read it as 'hastag mistakes'.



Tristan, an American living in Germany, makes a formal observation about page 212:

'... the author wrongly claims that the German alphabet has no letter V.'


That is absolutely correct - the Germans do have the letter V in the alphabet. Whoops.


It's funny it has not occured to me before, but when students in Poland are shown the letter 'v' for the first time, they call it 'fau' /faʊ/, which just happens to be the way the majority of Germans say the letter.


In the German language, the 'v' sound as used in English is often made by the letter 'w' (as in Polish), and so we have the confusion. So the information is not exactly wrong - it is just that I did not express it correctly. So that sentence should read: Great fun not only for Polish students, but for Germans or any other languages that use the letter V to make a 'w' /w/ sound and in turn the letter W to make a 'v' /v/ sound. 


As an additional note, the letter V may not technically be in the Polish alphabet, but it is 'borrowed' in other words, particularly in names. For example, there is an area of Kraków called Solvay, and there is a large dairy company called Mlekovita. Interestingly, I have also found one Polish/English dictionary, published by PWN Kernerman (Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN SA) that lists variétés, defined as 'variety'. Is this a French borrowing?


Although in English we have only 26 letters in the alphabet, we occasionally like to borrow from other languages (usually French). For example, for the British English coffee shop we use café (although the e without the diacritic is also used), and also when we talk about the outside of a building, we can say façade (but this can also used without the diacritic under c ).



Jacek Dziadkowiec particular - sorry, particularly - found something on page 27:

'...We read: "This is particular useful." Shouldn't it be "This is particularly useful"? I am asking the question out of sheer curiosity as a learner of English...'


The text concerned is the panel 'EXTRA GRAMMAR GOODY: Plural pronouns'.  It is the last paragraph. And Jacek, you are correct and should become a brilliant English student! So it should read (the correction highlighted in red):


Plural pronouns are also useful when describing individual people, but when the gender is not known or is not important. This is particularly useful for instructions: When dealing with a client who is unhappy, you should talk to them in a sympathetic manner. Before the meeting began, everybody switched their mobile phone off.



Next up, an anonymous reader is a little confused on page 142, and feels that there is a word missing.

After rereading the text, I'm sure you are right! There is one word missing from the first sentence. Again, the extra word is in red, and hopefully it will make more sense:


Now I shall entertain you with the present perfect continuous (sometimes called the present perfect progressive):

• We use it to talk about time that began at some point in the past but is still continuing, and with words that talk about a period of time that is still continuing up to now: It’s been raining for six days. (It began raining six days ago, and at the time of speaking, is still raining.) 



Ella - a student at the agricultural university in Krakow, Poland, is disappointed about something else entirely on page 86...

'Your book says the 501 bus goes to Mydlniki, which goes past the agricultural university. It did go, but the bus company has rerouted it to now go to the Bronowice shopping centre! So for the next book you will need to mention the 139, 208, or the 439 bus...'


Thank you Ella for that. But will those bus numbers still be there if and when a second edition is published?


Finally, one student believes that perhaps I shouldn't use 'other half'...

'Why do you use 'other half' in your book? Why not boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, partner?


This is just simply my personal preference.


The problem I have is that when coming out with a book which has to mention a relationship between two people, I have to be as neutral as possible, and I should show respect towards all types of relationships.


Now there are several terms that are available, but none really fit the informality that I want in this book. I do like boyfriend and girlfriend, but it would perhaps not suit an unmarried middle-aged couple. Common-law wife/husband suggests a couple that haven't got round to getting married yet; Live-in lover seems a bit downgrading and may even suggest adultery (Okay, I use lover, but it is clearly used as a bit of fun and is not as bad as live-in lover); partner is fine with same-sex relationships, but just seems overformal to the man/woman relationship as it suggests to me 'a married couple or an unmarried couple living together but it's not your business to know that so do not bother asking us'. I have to admit I cringe (feel embarrassed) when I see couples on informal TV game shows saying 'hello, I'm Judy, and this is my partner Richard.' It makes me almost hope that they will lose.


You could of course, just say, 'the man or the woman I live with' but that's just simply a lot of words.


My other half is, however, lovely, fun and informal. It upsets no one and it doesn't give any information away, apart from the fact that it tells us that the other person is the person you live with. I do use partner in the book, but only as a synonym.

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