The following Grammar Goofs have been gathered, over the years, from students' papers and in-class writing opportunities and are offered here in the spirit of good fun, with the understanding that we are all capable of being hoisted by our own rhetorical gaffes.

If you would like to offer your own example of Anomalous Anonymies, send it along to Grammar English, using the ASK GRAMMAR form. Please include a brief note giving Capital Community College permission to use your sentences on this web-page (no names will be included, of course).


This first group of goofs was "contributed," over the years, by students at Capital Community College and gratefully harvested, gleefully shared, by English professors.

The following grammatical goofs come from users of the Guide to Grammar and Writing, from all over the world.

Sign in a community hospital in Minnesota: "If you haven't had your flu shot this year, ask your doctor or nurse to get one."
submitted by a reader from Lynchburg, Virginia

The opening sentence of an essay on "The Pleasures of Youth": "The pleasures of youth are nothing to the pleasures of adultery."
submitted by a reader from Onkaparinga, South Australia, Australia

photo from a Japanese train station
submitted by Tom Georges

Retirement is a verb . . .
not a destination.

from an advertisement for a financial planning seminar
Vernon, Connecticut

l. Camelot represents ________ .
Student answer: the guarding of Edam
submitted by a reader from Baton Rouge, Louisiana

On the web-page advertising Lotus Organizer (http://www.support.lotus.com/css/org96.htm), the name of the product is spelled organzier -- twice on the same page! We don't know if Organizer has a spellchecker integrated into its functions, but if it does, it needs some work.
submitted by a reader from Columbia, Maryland

While visiting Germany, I found the following mis-translation in a brochure describing St. Mary's Church in Marienberg, Germany: "In the christening chapel there are free groins with portraits which are characteristic for Blechschmidt's work."
submitted by a reader from Holdenville, Oklahoma

After studying the Renaissance Period of British literature, my students had to learn Henry VIII's wives, their fates, and their children's names. One student identified Henry's fourth wife as Anne of Cleavage
submitted by a reader from Pittsburg, Texas

"I have been diagnosed with Attention Defecate Disorder. This makes me very disorganized."
school note submitted by a reader from Roanoke, Virginia

"I want to be the valid victorian of my high school."
from a student writing a paper on her goals,
submitted by a reader from San Jose, California

"Dear Dr. Osborne,
I pushed Jennifer and my paper under your door."
note left on a professor's door,
submitted by a reader from Galveston, Texas

"My mother is away at the moment so I am cooking my brother."
spoken by a ten-year-old boy,
submitted by a reader in Poland

"Ernest Hemingway was a really, really, good righter. He was so good that he won the pull it surprise for his book The Old Man and The Sea."
in a ninth-grader's paper
submitted by a teacher in Covington, Georgia

Some intermediate and/advanced students wrote these on assignments:
  • "...as I felt a breeze in my head."
  • "...and a vase fell in my head."
  • "I was so hungry I ate a whole mill." (misspelling 'meal')
  • In an oral drill I asked a student:"Is this a book?" And he answered: "Yes, I am."
    submitted by a user from Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

    "All her life she was around business; her mother was a stock bocher. She said a company looks for a high GPA. She also said to get involved with extracellular activities."
    submitted from Altoona, Pennsylvania

    "It is illegal to sell your automobile to a German you have owned for less than six months."
    a large sign in the auto registration office of the Military Police Station in Schweinfurt, Germany

    "Please excuse Adam from school from yesterday. He is filling real bad."
    a student's self-written "excuse note"
    from Elizabeth City, New Jersey

    "Bob appetite!"
    from a cookbook included with a waffle maker made in China
    from Walnut Cove, North Carolina

    "The blue bonnet plague killed many people."
    submitted from Rockwall, Texas

    "He took her for granite."
    "He had a no hose barred meeting."
    from a teacher's batch of papers in Beverly Hills, Michigan


    "The Solecisms of George W. Bush, President of the United States" has taken on a life of its own and now occupies its own page.


    The following delightfully funny signs and notices are from Richard Lederer's book, Anguished English, and they remain here with his kind permission. Lederer is the author of several books that delight language lovers and serve as antidote for taking English studies too seriously. Learn more about these books on his own Web page, which is called Richard Lederer's Verbivore.

    In a Tokyo Hotel:
      Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such thing is please not to read notis.
    In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
      The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.
    In a Leipzig elevator:
      Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.
    In a Belgrade hotel elevator:
      To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.
    In a Paris hotel elevator:
      Please leave your values at the front desk.
    In a hotel in Athens:
      Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.
    In a Yugoslavian hotel:
      The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.
    In a Japanese hotel:
      You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.
    In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
      You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.
    In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:
      Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.
    On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
      Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.
    On the menu of a Polish hotel:
      Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion.
    Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
      Ladies may have a fit upstairs.
    In a Bangkok dry cleaner's:
      Drop your trousers here for best results.
    Outside a Paris dress shop:
      Dresses for street walking.
    In a Rhodes tailor shop:
      Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.
    A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest:
      It is strictly forbidden on our Black Forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.
    In a Zurich hotel:
      Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.
    In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
      Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.
    In a Rome laundry:
      Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.
    In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
      Take one of our horse-driven city tours - we guarantee no miscarriages.
    Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand:
      Would you like to ride on your own ass?
    In a Swiss mountain inn:
      Special today -- no ice cream.
    In a Bangkok temple:
      It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.
    In a Tokyo bar:
      Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.
    In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
      We take your bags and send them in all directions.
    On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
      If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.
    In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:
      Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.
    In a Budapest zoo:
      Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.
    In the office of a Roman doctor:
      Specialist in women and other diseases.
    In an Acapulco hotel:
      The manager has personally passed all the water served here.
    In a Tokyo shop:
      Our nylons cost more than common, but you'll find they are best in the long run.
    From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air-conditioner:
      Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.
    From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
      When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn.Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.
    Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
      English well talking.
      Here speeching American.