Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Do You Like This Dog's Bread?"

Do I what now? 

"Do you like this dog's bread?"

This is an actual sentence that appeared in some copy I was editing today. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out what the writer meant to say. Was the sentence supposed to be "Do you like this dog's breath?" (Nooo.) or "Do you like this dog's bead?" (What now?) or "Do you like this dog's head?" (It's a very nice head, but why do you ask?)

Some context: The sentence appeared in a worksheet about letter sounds. There were two lists, both with words that contained the vowel sequence ea. In one  list, the words had a short e sound, like head, dread, and tread. The other list had words with a long e sound, like in plead, leash, and reading.

I was baffled, but eventually my friend and co-worker, Emma, pointed out that the word bread had been placed incorrectly in the long e list. The writer, who holds a Ph.D. in education (and, to be fair, is the overworked mother of a small child) looked at bread and thought breed, spelling be damned.

So the question really is, "Do you like this dog's breed?" 

Answer: I like its breed better than I like its bread, thank you very much. 

1 comment:

  1. The world is going to go to the dogs if people stop hiring editors!

    Sunday morning I was reading the biz. section of the Times and this sentence appeared in a bio. piece,"My father, who taught high school, used to drive us in a big green van from Sunnyvale, Calif., to Lake Tahoe in a big green van."



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