or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Sunday, March 01, 2009


I don't even remember how I got to Time Magazine's online photo-essay slide shows: I was kind of poking around the Internet, browsing, following whatever links seemed interesting, and landed on one of them. The captions under the photos in the various slide shows had the occasional tiny typo or mistake, which annoyed me, but when I read this one, my head just exploded. It wasn't that this mistake was particularly bad (although it is); it was the cumulative effect of all the mistakes, capped by something that never should have seen the light of day.

"Je ne sais crois"? What the fuck is that?

The correct expression is "je ne sais quoi", which literally means "I don't know what" and is used to express some indefinable quality that makes someone fascinating or attractive. "Je ne sais crois" means exactly nothing in this context. (You can string those words together in French and have them mean something, just not the way the Time caption writer did.)

"Crois" is the first person singular form of the verb "croire", "to believe, to think". (There's another verb in French, "penser", which means "to think", but they have different undertones: "penser" would be used in the sense of "Think about it", while "croire" is more like "I think so", although you can also use "penser" in such situations, depending on the preposition you use. It's complicated.)

Someone, somewhere, should have caught this. Letting this get into print shows that the people in charge of Time Magazine's web presence just don't give a good goddamn about the reader. Throw together any old crap, chuck it online, make sure the ads are being served, and to hell with accuracy or correctness.


Anonymous OmegaMom said...

Hah! I saw this very error just yesterday in the comments section of a blog; I had never seen it before. It's similar to the "all intensive purposes" error.

It's an awfully pretty dress, though...

Sunday, March 01, 2009 1:50:00 PM  
Blogger pyramus said...

Yeah, "all intensive purposes". That one's pretty horrible, and fairly common. Or "neck in neck". Mistakes made by people who don't read and never see these things in print.

Sunday, March 01, 2009 3:21:00 PM  

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