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Accident Reports

I seem to have found the non-glitchy version of the ljxp plugin, so hopefully this post will not be re-crossposted to LJ every time I edit it or it receives a comment. We’ll just have to wait and see, so here’s a test post with actual content:

The following is from a well-circulated email, which I most recently received on a copyeditors’ mailing list. It illustrates how little grammatical shifts and glitches can have a big impact on what you mean to say. Reportedly, the quotes below were originally posted in the Toronto News, July 26, 1977, and are actual statements from insurance forms where car drivers tried to summarize accident details in as few words as possible . Even if you’ve seen it before, it’s fun to read again and rediscover a howler you may have forgotten about. My personal favorite is #18.

1. Coming home I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.

2. The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intent.

3. I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way.

4. In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.

5. I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home. As I reached an intersection, a hedge sprang up, obscuring my vision and I did not see the other car.

6. I had been driving for forty years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.

7. I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.

8. My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.

9. As I approached the intersection a sign suddenly appeared in a place where no sign had ever appeared before, making me unable to avoid the accident.

10. I told the police I was not injured, but upon removing my hair, I found that I had a fractured skull.

11. I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.

12. I saw a slow-moving, sad-faced old gentleman as he bounced off the hood of my car.

13. The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.

14. I was thrown from my car as it left the road, and was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.

15. A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.

16. I thought my window was down, but I found out it was up when I put my head through it.

17. To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front, I struck the pedestrian.

18. The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.

19. The pedestrian had no idea which way to run, so I ran over him.

20. An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished.

21. A truck backed through my windshield into my wife’s face.

22. I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over the embankment.

Originally published at Kimberly Creative Services. Please leave any comments there.

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