I pull my proofreading exercises for my students straight off the internet. The trouble is, however, that sometimes the writing is so very bad that the kids can't figure out what to do to fix it.
Here are a few "good" examples of lack of copy editing I've found in the past few months.
“At age six, Ducharme's father hired two mermaids to swim up to a dock where the boy was eating his birthday cake.” -- from a Yahoo! news article about a reality show guy who likes mermaids. 4/3/13
Uh, but when Ducharme's father was 6, it's pretty unlikely that Ducharme himself was there. I know some folks hit puberty early, but fatherhood at 6 is not too probable.
“A Memorial Day weekend storm has dropped three feet of snow on a New York ski mountain near the Vermont boarder.” AP, Yahoo! News 5/27/13
Gee, I bet that renter was surprised.
“We wanted to recognize our consumers as more than just moms, but also as women and give her a campaign that has her view Kraft salad dressings in a whole new way." Yahoo! news article about Kraft salad dressing ad. 6/14/13.
And we're rockin' some MAJOR singular/plural confusion in this one, honey! I had to read this three times to figure out what the writer was attempting to convey.
“Michael Romano is an American priest working in the Vatican's Secret Archives with a penchant for stepping over the line.” -- from the book blurb for The Psalter by Galen Watson. 6/15/13.
I had no idea that archives could have a penchant for stepping over the line -- or for anything else, for that matter.
After being taken to a local hospital, nurses reported to police that the bandage had not been changed for some time....” ksl.com news article about a bedridden person, 6/22/13.
Wait. So the nurses had to go to the hospital before they could report to the police what had happened at the home of the mistreated bedridden person???!!! What?! This is the sentence mangling that occurs when people don't check their modifiers.
“Four women were killed in a rollover accident on Interstate 70 Saturday when the driver told police he dozed off at the wheel.” -- McKenzie Romero on ksl.com 6/22/13
Well, then, if the driver hadn't been so busy telling the police about his bad driving, those women wouldn't have been killed!! Obviously!
“In addition to playing chess and reading, her mom said that she loves hanging out with friends, watch TV, and swim.” -- Yahoo! news article about a 13-year-old girl with a 162 IQ. 6/7/13
It seems to me that the writer should've asked the girl with the high IQ if she could explain to him parallels in the usage of gerunds vs. infinitives.
“Utah Lawmakers tackle teen suicide, bullying after deaths.” Salt Lake Tribune, 2/20/13.
Why would you bully someone AFTER her/his death? How does that even work?
Ah, yes. Another problem with a modifier. *sighs*
Fortunately for my lesson planning, but unfortunately for all of us who have to read garbage like this, it's never very hard to find samples of un-proofread writing.
Do feel free to share in the comments section any you've found recently. :)