Sunday, March 8, 2009

TTC: Toronto Typo Commission

In my line of work, I see a lot of typographical errors. The vast majority of them are understandable; if you're sweating to finish a thirty- or forty-page monster that absolutely has to cross the newswires now, mistakes and slips-of-the-finger are inevitable. I don't begrudge anyone those. What does get my back up, however, are errors that leap right off the surface they're printed on, errors that seem like effort must have been made to avoid seeing them.

Apparently the Toronto Transit Commission wants its riders to know that more of its surface routes are running later into the night. Considering how unpleasant it can be to have to trudge through the dusky darkness in the cold months, this is a welcome change. When I saw the first ad trumpeting this schedule shift, the error leapt out at me immediately. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera in hand to document it.

How fortunate, then, that on my way out to the Port Lands yesterday, I did have it in hand.

See the problem there? Look closely. "Over 85% of our daytime routes now operate until approximately 1:00am, everyday."

Every day is two words. "Every day" and "everyday" are not ciphers that can stand in for one another as easily as Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski. "Every day" means exactly what it says; something that's "everyday" is ordinary or unremarkable, which completely goes against what the ad is trying to convey.

Intellectually, I know what the ad is supposed to mean. I can't help but see errors like this, and I know there are plenty more people who wouldn't necessarily notice anything wrong with it unless it was pointed out to them. What concerns me is the implication that no one involved in the production of the ad noticed it, either. It's only three lines of text; not very much room for a typo to hide.

You may think I'm taking this too seriously. Personally I'd prefer to draw attention to these errors wherever I can find them. Whether it's an error in an ad or a 72 Pape bus that says it's going to Eastern Avenue when it's heading north up Carlaw, inaccuracies are the bane of a successful transit system.

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