A Funny Error at the Theater

I went to a performance at one of my favorite Seattle theaters the other night. Attending the performance earned me the opportunity to get $5 off a ticket to a future offering. But the promotional card in the program included an error that made me laugh. Can you find it?

Find the error before scrolling down to my comments. 

Amusing Error
















Yes, there are a couple of punctuation errors: In person should not be hyphenated in the second sentence. And there should be a comma before "and one of our team members" in the last sentence. But the amusing error is–did you find it?–the word backside. 

I double-checked my dictionaries just to be sure I wasn't mistaken. They confirmed my understanding: Backside is an informal term for "the buttocks, the rump." Not a good place to fill out the interest form! 

What should the writer have used instead of backside? Here are several choices: 

Fill out the back of this sheet. 

Fill out the reverse of this sheet.  

Fill out the other side of this sheet.  


Have you seen any funny errors recently? Please share them.

For a helpful reminder on other errors, read this blog post: Without Further Adieu.

And here's a usage test you may have missed: Usage Challenge: Can You Pick the Correct Word? 

Syntax Training




  1. Hello, May I ask you to explain a difference between fill in and fill out? Thank you in advance.
    Best wishes and Season’s greetings!

  2. Hello Elena,

    “Fill in” and “fill out”–good question. “The American Heritage College Dictionary” suggests that both are correct. It contains an entry for “fill out,” which says “to complete (a form, for example) by providing required information.” That seems the better match for your situation.

    However, one of the dictionary’s definitions for “fill in” is “to provide with information that is essential or newly acquired”; I believe that definition could be stretched to match your needs. Normally, though, people use it in sentences like these: “Fill me in on the details” and “Please fill in the team on what happened.”

    Although I prefer “fill out,” I don’t think you would be wrong if you filled in the forms. Just be consistent.


  3. Hello Lynn, thank you very much for your attention to my question and your explanation. Now it’s clear!
    Have a nice day

  4. In Finnish, the reverse side of a sheet of paper is “takapuoli”, and that is also a colloquial expression for buttocks/rump. However, in more formal contexts, “kääntöpuoli” is usually used, this word doesn’t have a double meaning.

    Fill in seems to be more common in British usage, while fill out is the American expression, but both seem to mean essentially the same thing, at least in the context of filling in/out a form. There might be a distinction between the two in American English, in that fill in might mean to fill in a mostly completed form with missing details (e.g. date and signature), while filling out means completing an empty form from scratch. As far as I know, there’s no such distinction in British English. (A bit of background: Br.E. is the version I grew up with in school, including a year’s stay in the UK when I was a child. I mostly use British English professionally, but switched to American in private communications online more than 20 years ago.)


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