Proofreading Perils

I laughed out loud this morning when I happened to come across this in the appendix of a book on hymn typesetting:

I’m not throwing stones – I’ve made my share of mistakes – and I’m not going to tell you what book this is from.

It reminded me of this title page of a recent chant book:

That’s good Italian – canto gregoriano – and perhaps that’s why it looked OK to the proofreaders. Problem is, this is Latin, and so it should be cantu gregoriano.

I’ve gone to press with my share of Angus Dei and “his Song, Jesus Christ our Lord” and the like. The antiphon index of one of our abbey hymnals almost went to press with “Wasted and anointed” but we caught that one – it’s “Washed.”

Any favorites among your mistakes you’d like to share?



  1. I also laughed – aloud.

    It’s true that the hardest things to proofread are: things one types oneself, and errors that are not in spelling. It’s exceedingly easy to add or omit a negative contrary to intended meaning; that’s perhaps the most common of the non-spelling, non-autocorrect kind.

  2. Decades ago a senior staff member at Concordia Publishing House sent me a note explaining the source of things like these. It read (as I can best recall): “We aim to publish something for everyone. Some people are always looking for mistakes. Therefore we try to include a typo at regular intervals.”

  3. I had a bulletin column that was entitled “Liturgy Corner.” Sometimes that title was re-typed. Once it came out “Liturgy Coroner.” The great Lee Nagel of happy memory met up with me a a local conference and said, “so you’re the one who declared liturgy dead.”

  4. One of the last editions of “Glory and Praise” had “Away in a Manager” listed in the index. I referred to it as the IBM Christmas Carol…..

  5. Over the past five to ten years in our parish, “Our Lord died for the love of money [many]”, and the hymns ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sin” and “Lord Jesus Think Not on Me”.

  6. The capitalization and spelling section of the SBL Handbook of Style, 2nd Ed., p. 48, states:

    pharoah, the (similar to the king, the emperor, etc.)
    Pharaoh x (Pharoah Ramesses, Pharaoh Tutankhamun, etc.)

    It’s like Joe Satriani’s advice to guitarists: when you play a wrong note, play it twice so the audience thinks you meant it!

  7. We did a worship aid in the early days of desktop publishing (QuarkXpress on a Mac) and in the Gloria it said , “glory to God in the high test.” Neither I nor my colleague caught it. I doubt many in the pews noticed either.

  8. I’ve used that chant book in class materials last semester and in an article about to be published! I thought it was odd (“in canto”) but just skipped over it. Trust your instincts and check it out carefully is my future motto!

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