Contests and Promotions from ResearchWritingCenter.comStart Writing and Get Us Laughing Contest Submission: Oh No!!!

Contest from RWC We continue to highlight the winning submissions in our writing contest.

As you know there have been a lot of great writing pieces and we simply can’t let them go by unrecognised.

The point of the contest was pretty simple – write an amusing story about freelance writing (fictional or from your own experience).

We’ve identified 5 winners of the contest and wanted to highlight these contest submissions for you.

Make sure check back next week – another submission will be waiting for you!

Oh No! by Mishal A.

You think your report or proposal is perfect. Then someone who’s never read it before finds an oh-so-embarrassing mistake. You lose your face. Or an account. Or a promotion.

I see this in too-long sentences, when a hurried writer strings together a bunch of thoughts but doesn’t take time to sort out what should go where. The result: a jumbled sentence. Sometimes it’s downright laughable.

“After being inspired by an ER episode about living kidney donations, surgeons at XYZ Hospital transplanted one of Smith’s kidneys to a stranger.”

This sentence literally means the surgeons got stoked by a TV show to do a transplant. The writer meant to say that Mr. Smith saw the TV show and decided to become a donor.

Your mind can go blank or black; you might titter about a dose, but you really need to titer it; and gravy is never gray in my book.

Industry-specific terms may need special attention. In health care, “underserved” gets extra scrutiny to make sure it’s not spelled “undeserved.” (Imagine applying for funding with that blunder in your documentation.)

Have a look at some more:

  • A coping machine
    (A good alternative to our department’s Xerox?)
  • Catch and carry
    (Not something I’d want to do if I had one)
  • Cornmeal transplant
    (No thanks)
  • Chef of surgery
    (I hope he can do more than toss salads)
  • A pier review
    (Are seagulls on the committee?)
  • Half-lift of 4 hours
    (Not good, especially if that’s an antidepressant)
  • spelling mistakes in your papers My biggest nightmare happened years ago when I wrote a company’s first user manual. Half a dozen sets of in-house eyes proofed every page I wrote and tested every instruction I listed.

    So much was at stake. Before we did a full press run, we sent manuals to some of the company’s largest clients—with the caveat that they’d give us extensive feedback.

    The director asked for me. He asked, “Can I hire the LIFEBOY that you mentioned?”

    I was confused. Then I saw it. On the first page of the manual, “lifebuoy” was missing the “u.”
    Six highly educated, vested people missed the same mistake because none of them—including yours truly—knew how to proof.

    The same applies to product descriptions and so much more. Just think about all the things that a “price reduced” sign in front of a for-sale house could mean.

    Let’s compare the words “cheap” and “inexpensive” for a minute. Which would you rather buy and give as a gift: a cheap tea set or an inexpensive tea set? Probably the latter—because of what those words connote.

    Here’s the last one:

    “Your cooling skills are outstanding.”
    If I were in the HVAC business and had just fixed your air conditioner, then that might be true.
    It only takes one misstep like this to submarine your credibility.

    Editor’s note: Thank you, Mishal, for participating in the contest and highlighting those minor and thus unpleasant mistakes that a lot of freelance writers leave in their papers.

    Fortunately their more humorous than damaging. And we, at the, wish you to make only this kind of mistakes in your works, if any at all :)

    P.S. We’ve added a great online meme to describe the frustration we face, when dealing with these spelling and/or contextual mistakes!

    Have a great weekend!

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