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'SPELING' ERRORS GET FINE TUNING

At Success magazine, an editor's mistakes are costly: $25 for a mispelling (er, misspelling). Another $25 for poorly-placed hyphens (oops, improperly used hyphens). A whopping $500 for getting somebody's name wrong.

For the past two months, sloppy copy has meant surrendering cold cash at Success. Gleefully plundering inattentive editors is Scott DeGarmo, the editor in chief, who says he grew tired of making the same complaints to the same people about the same errors.

"When my people see a typo anyplace, I want them to step on it like a roach," DeGarmo said Wednesday.

But taking money for mistakes? Isn't that a little extreme?

"No! If you asked the average guy on the street, he would say of course an editor should know how to spell," DeGarmo said. "If a bricklayer made a crooked wall, or an accountant couldn't add, people would be angry. But editors think it's nothing to not know how to spell."

The wallet-lightening approach to achieving good grammar began Nov. 5 at the monthly magazine.

DeGarmo checks all copy handed in by his senior editors. If he catches any grammatical or typographical errors, the person responsible would pay $25 for spelling mistakes, the same for hyphens after words ending in -ly (highly-sought, for example).

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