The Great Typo Hunt:
Two Friends Changing the World,
One Correction at a Time
Jeff DECK and Benjamin D. HERSON
ABOUT THE BOOK
The signs of the times are missing apostrophes.
The world needed a hero, but how would an editor with no off-switch answer the call? For Jeff Deck, the writing was literally on the wall: “NO TRESSPASSING.” In that moment, his greater purpose became clear. Dark hordes of typos had descended upon civilization… and only he could wield the marker to defeat them.
Recruiting his friend Benjamin and other valiant companions, he created the Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL). Armed with markers, chalk, and correction fluid, they circumnavigated America, righting the glaring errors displayed in grocery stores, museums, malls, restaurants, mini-golf courses, beaches, and even a national park. Jeff and Benjamin championed the cause of clear communication, blogging about their adventures transforming horor into horror, it’s into its, and coconunut into coconut.
But at the Grand Canyon, they took one correction too far: fixing the bad grammar in a fake Native American watchtower. The government charged them with defacing federal property and summoned them to court—with a typo-ridden complaint that claimed that they had violated “criminal statues.” Now the press turned these paragons of punctuation into “grammar vigilantes,” airing errors about their errant errand..
The radiant dream of TEAL would not fade, though. Beneath all those misspelled words and mislaid apostrophes, Jeff and Benjamin unearthed deeper dilemmas about education, race, history, and how we communicate. Ultimately their typo-hunting journey tells a larger story not just of proper punctuation but of the power of language and literacy—and the importance of always taking a second look.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
JEFF DECK served as an associate editor for Rocks & Minerals magazine and his short stories have appeared in The Furnace Review and Boston Literary Magazine. He won two spelling bees in junior high.
BENJAMIN D. HERSON has been a bookseller for the past eight years. His short stories have appeared in Dan River Anthology and Down in the Dirt.
They are the somewhat fearless leaders of the Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL).
“[THE GREAT TYPO HUNT], where editor meets road trip, is entertaining, informative, and thought-provoking, and one that any lover of language, travel — or both — will probably enjoy.”
—The Boston Globe
“[A]n illuminating hybrid of travelogue, English usage textbook and sociological experiment.”
“[B]reezy and fun….most interesting when it delves into issues of class and race…and in its discussion of the plasticity of the English language.”
“This pair of kooks, with their high standards and principled civil disobedience, give me hope for the future of humanity.”
—Steven Pinker, Harvard College professor, Harvard University, and author of The Language Instinct and The Stuff of Thought
“A compelling read! Deck and Herson have brilliantly combined the exploratory curiosity of the travel writer, the human interest of the story-teller, and the explanatory detail of the language specialist into an original, humorous, and engaging narrative. Anyone interested in language standards, attitudes, and education should read this enticing book.”
—David Crystal, author of Just a Phrase I’m Going Through and By Hook or By Crook: a Journey in Search of English
WHY I LOVED THIS BOOK
Here you go again: another book on the English language.
I enjoyed this smartly written book, and was glad that there are still some young people out there who REALLY know their language and how to use it with humor and seriousness at the same time.
As you go further in the book, you discover more important aspects of language and society, and it opens interesting questions. The major turning point is of course what happened at the Grand Canyon. I expected this book to be only funny, but I learned a lot through it, even on human respect… and stupid laws.
I am glad they have been allowed to reopen their website, and I recommend you to look at it, and possibly join the campaign. I have hard time myself when I see a typo on an official sign, a website or a book, though I admit you can probably find many typos in this blog, and I am aware that my first language not being English is not an excuse.
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK YET?
DO YOU FEEL LIKE READING THIS BOOK?
DO YOU NOTICE TYPOS AROUND YOU? WHAT’S YOUR USUAL REACTION TO THEM?
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