Magazines and flyers are constant sources of grammatical errors and other interesting blog material for The Essay Expert.  This week I’m writing just a few examples of what I found in the ads populating a recent Madison’s DollarsandSense coupon flyer.  These examples are good reminders to pay attention to your writing!

1.  Ad for ChoreCare (

Original text:  “All jobs & work is customized to meet your needs.”

Commentary:  Jobs & work are two things and the verb should therefore be plural.

Correction:  All jobs & work are customized to meet your needs.

This error is very common and I find myself making it more often than I’d like to admit.  A few days ago, I wrote, regarding the improvement to one of my client’s resumes:  The other bullets show his success on both the artistic and strategic side of marketing.

I quickly caught my error and changed “side” to “sides,” since I was talking about two sides – plural!

What makes this one slippery is that in speech, we often do not distinguish between the singular and plural in situations such as the ones above.  I see this as another example of purist vs. progressive language (see Top 10 Obsolete Grammar Rules – by Steven Sawyer).

Whether you are a purist or a progressive on this one, I encourage you to pay attention and make a choice, rather than make a blind potential error.  Please share if you find yourself challenged by this issue!

2.  Ad for Mother Nature’s Diaper Service, Inc.

Original text:  “Reserve a Pre-birth Delivery Date Today!”

(click for full size ad)

Commentary:  Is this line an intentional joke?  It seems the writers might be unaware that they have made a pun on “Delivery Date.” How can there be a pre-birth delivery [of a baby]?  OH…  a *diaper* delivery.  I get it.

Is it just me, or does pre-birth remind you of afterbirth (the placenta and fetal membranes that are normally expelled from the uterus after the birth of the baby) — now that’s something I don’t want delivered to my door!  I just don’t like the phrase “Pre-birth Delivery” at all, even if it was intended to be clever, which I’m not convinced it was.

My suggested correction:  Reserve a Diaper Delivery Date Today!

Now that’s cute, and it plays well on the word “Delivery” without being downright perplexing.

3.  Ad for Sierra Concepts, LLC Basement Waterproofing Specialists

Original text:  “$50 OFF Crack Injections”

Commentary:  I realize “crack injection” is a trade term, but really!  Am I the only one who immediately calls up an image of desolate streets and needles and crazed looking drug addicts?

My suggested correction:  $50 OFF Basement Crack Repair.

Boring, maybe.  But it gets the point across safely.


What are your favorite examples of incorrect or funny ads?  Please share them here!


  1. This is from an MLS (real estate listing) in Orange County, California. I love that they manage neither the spelling or correct usage of coupe de grace. The rest of the sentence conjures up a strange and disturbing mental picture. Here it is: The ‘Cru De Gra’ is the larger than most in the neighborhood rear yard with tremendous upgrades.
    Yes, where to start…the whole description is a train wreck!

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