From soup to nuts (with a proofreader)

A dear friend of mine just purchased a franchise from Zoup! (They use the exclamation point the same way our blog does, as part of the name.) I jokingly commented to him to please tell me their menus will be professionally edited and proofread–and then, of course, I went to the franchise’s site to see a menu for myself. My friend won’t have any control over what’s printed on his restaurant’s menu, sorry to say.

It’s nowhere near the eyesore provided by Alice Cooperstown, but it’s not perfect, either.

The first question I have is: If the name of the place is Zoup!, why isn’t “soup” spelled that way as the menu category? It’s probably some copyright/licensing issue, but it really looks odd to me. I expected to see the “cute” spelling carried through. They’ve replaced the “s” on “greens,” and the “es” on “sandwiches,” so why not the “s” on “soup”?

I won’t pick the whole thing apart, but I’ll speak to it in generality. Numerous hyphens are missing from compound adjectives (like “tomato-based” or “low-fat”). Nouns and adjectives are randomly capitalized (look at the kinds of breads, and the types of salad dressings). Then there are the other inconsistencies: Are the “Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette” and the “Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing” the same, or different? If they’re the same, they should be worded the same. Otherwise picky editors like me ask picky questions like this one. Parentheses are also apparently random. Some entries use the format “(prepared this way on that kind of bread)” and others use “prepared this way on that kind of bread.” (Add the random capitalization to that and you have a right mess.)

What’s with that “.” before “cobb” (sic)? If it’s supposed to be a joke of some kind, I don’t get it.

These are the things that keep this copy editor/proofreader from falling asleep easily. Menus are in need of correction somewhere in the world!

Will this keep me from visiting my friend’s restaurant? Not on your life. I won’t even take my red marker with me. (He’s been a friend too long for me to antagonize him that way–and as a former member of the legal profession, he’d find a way to get back at me. I’m kidding. He wouldn’t do that. At least I don’t think he would.)



3 thoughts on “From soup to nuts (with a proofreader)

  1. I find that compound adjectives are often missing their hyphens—not just on this menu, but everywhere. That seems to be one of the most common problems. In some rare cases, such as “peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” the hyphen is not needed, but it’s usually helpful for clarity (so that there is no doubt what you mean when you refer to a “man-eating tiger”).

    As for the oddly named salad, I think “.cobb” is supposed to be a web joke — a play on “dot com.” It must be Zoup’s way of trying to sound up to date.


    1. ::nods:: As for the missing hyphens: I admit I’m showing my curmudgeonly status by continuing to harp about them, when even the stately CMoS (of which I own the 14th edition, and is now up to 16) says that the trend is toward open compounds except in the cases of possible misinterpretation. I much prefer the hyphenated forms, because there is no chance of misunderstanding, at all. (I’m continually amazed at how easily some people misinterpret wordings that to me are perfectly clear. I prefer to err on the side of hyphenation, to remove any possible doubt: “This is a compound adjective, because it’s hyphenated.” Your example of peanut butter and jelly sandwich versus man-eating tiger is excellent.

      ::reads about the supposed joke:: Oh. Ha. Ooookay. (Perhaps you’re too naive for the Internet and I’m too old. Some days I wonder.)


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