Epic Fail: Proofread Your Writing Before Going To Print

WRITTEN January 12, 2012 Author: Rich Atkins

What is an “Epic Fail”? The term, “FAIL” is widely used as an Internet trope where people superimpose the word, “FAIL” on images of the unsuccessful, or that which does not live up to what is expected. Usually, these FAILs aim to make people laugh and are quite funny.

A few years ago, a teacher in the New York City School System faked a jury duty notice to get out of work. Hers was a FAIL because the document she submitted at the school–allegedly a letter from a court–was loaded with enough errors to “red flag” it for further investigation.

Epic Fail - Coffee Sandwiches

Recently, while traversing Roosevelt Avenue in Queens (after some really delicious Bolivian food), I saw a sign above a deli indicating “COFFEE SANDWICHES.” It made me remember another deli awning sign that said ‘ICE COLD BEER SANDWICHES.”

Wouldn’t these be too soggy to eat?

Signs like these are great examples of FAILs. Most people will understand what is meant. In fact, some people may not even notice that there’s something wrong. But for those who do catch the error(s), that business has lost credibility, and when enough believability is lost, customers go elsewhere.

Some FAILs do nothing more than make their creators and/or owners look very, very bad. For some (painful) fun, Google “Tattoo FAILs” and see what mistakes some people have been stuck with (literally).

Speaking of tattoos, one of the FAILs in the Improving Communications Gallery of FAIL (click this link to visit) is an image of the exterior of a second-floor tattoo parlor (also on Roosevelt Avenue), with a neon sign that says“TATTOOS & BODY PIECING.” Yes, the neon sign had the word ‘PIECING” instead of “PIERCING!” That’s a proofreading FAIL for the person at the business who ordered the sign AS WELL AS the sign maker!

The most important thing to remember about these FAILS is that they could have been avoided. With the some good writing knowledge and proofreading skills, these upsetting and money-wasting instances could have been prevented.

Be successful. Avoid the FAIL. Take the Effective Business Writing Course!

This information is from the Effective Business Writing class. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes. Click for more information.

Other Resources Epic Fail:

Definition of Epic Fail

6 Common Editing and Proofreading Mistakes

Common Grammar and Spelling Mistakes You Missed Even After Proofreading

Catch More Writing Mistakes With This Underutilized Trick

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