Skip to content

The Irritating Writer

In a recent business writing class, we swapped stories of errors that had made us grin. I like this one, which the writer had rendered in bold type:

Let me reirritate!

Of course, the writer intended “Let me reiterate.” But the person who received the message thought reirritate fit just fine.

Please share your amusing errors.


Posted by Avatar photo
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

5 comments on “The Irritating Writer”

  • This isn’t an error, exactly, but it’s a lovely play on words in a similar vein to your post.

    I was speaking to my mother in law on the phone a while back and I asked her what she was doing later that afternoon.

    “Research,” she said.

    I asked her what was the subject.

    “I lost my glasses, then I found them, then I lost them again so now I have to re-search them.”


  • “Sorry for the incontinence”, instead of inconvenience.

    “Please whip down the tables when you’re done”, instead of wipe.

  • Matthew, your mother-in-law’s comment is perfect. I have been doing research for my glasses, keys, scissors, calculator, and lots of other things. And I had thought I was just disorganized!

    Nichole, I myself have received the “incontinence” message, as have several people in my workshops. The condition is spreading!

Comments are closed.