You don't know why it's so wrong. Maybe they did not do the research, and suffered from Critical Research Failure. Maybe they knew it all along, but then decided to ignore it. Maybe it's done deliberately. Maybe they just want to lure you out. But whatever, you're annoyed by the wrongness, and now you can't stop your urge to correct it!
This is a Truth in Television, since somehow we all have different extents of Super OCD to become perfect, and correct every mistake we find. And bad things are usually more memorable than normal ones, which may also have contributed to it. And oh well, did we tell you that correcting others provides a form of superiority?
A form of Schmuck Bait. Sub Tropes include Grammar Nazi, Stylistic Suck, Edit War, You Make Me Sic, Fandom Berserk Button. See also So Bad, It's Good, The Internet Is Serious Business, Accentuate the Negative. Distracting Disambiguation, Xylophone Gag. Compare Super OCD, The Perfectionist, Blunder Correcting Impulse, Flame Bait and Snark Bait. Contrast Bystander Syndrome. May result in Hypocrite, Lets See You Do Better, "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer, Aluminum Christmas Trees.
Please only list in-universe examples here - some people may think every Real Life Correction Bait is intentionally done, which is not true. Also, no work is perfect - to an enough picky/smart audience, there's always something that can still be corrected, so it'll end up listing every work there.
- In the Batman story Slayride, Robin / Tim Drake is trapped in a car with the Joker on Christmas. He buys enough time to finish freeing himself by quoting the Marx Brothers, then deliberately misidentifying the source of the quote.
- In Now You See Me, Daniel tries to mimic Merritt's mentalism and makes a comically bad attempt at 'reading' their boss. Tressler is quick to tell him how off his guesses are - too bad he's being mined for his bank account security questions.
- Tampopo has the titular ramen chef learn another chef's methods in this way. She orders a bowl as a customer and then speaks with him, claiming something about her order seems off. She accuses him of neither soaking the noodles long enough nor boiling them the proper number of times, and he is quick to tell her precisely how they were prepared.
- Sherlock Holmes has used this to good effect. In The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, he's tracking the origins of a Christmas goose which was found to be carrying a stolen gem. He insists to a dealer that the goose was farm-raised - which he knows almost certainly isn't true - and under the guise of a bet gets the man to prove him "wrong" by showing him the ledgers telling exactly where in the city the goose came from. Holmes later says he could have offered the man a hundred times the bet and not been able to simply buy the information.
- In one episode of Open All Hours, Arkwright put up a sign with deliberately bad grammar in the hopes that people would come into the shop to correct it.
- In the Columbo episode "The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case", Columbo constructs the contraption the killer used to make it sound like the murder happened while he was outside the room. However, Columbo deliberately put an error into the contraption, knowing the murderer wouldn't be able to resist correcting it.
- Discussed in the The Big Bang Theory episode "The Hawking Execution".
Penny: I know what it means. And yes, you love correcting people and putting them down.Sheldon: Au contraire. When I correct people I am raising them up. You should know, I do it for you more than anyone.Penny: Come on, you do it to feel superior. I see that twinkle in your eye when someone says "who" instead of "whom" or thinks the moon is a planet.Sheldon: Or Don Quixote is a book about a donkey named Hotay.Penny: See, there it is, there's that twinkle.Sheldon: Well, I can't help it. That's an involuntary twinkle.
- In one episode of Sherlock, the title character gets a lot of information out of the victim's wife very quickly by voicing several incorrect assumptions about her husband. He explains to John that, while people are often reluctant to answer questions, they are almost always eager to correct a mistake.
- Hogan's Heroes had this as a way Hogan got information, he would say the wrong thing and be corrected with the right information, then change subjects before it was noticed. It was even lampshaded in one episode when a "German citizen" giving away classified SS orders turned out to be an Allied agent.
Spy: Are you sure you've wormed enough information out of me, Colonel Hogan?
- Blanche does this in one episode of The Golden Girls:
Blanche: You come to me when you want advice on men. You go to Dorothy when there's grammar you need help with.Dorothy: You ended that sentence with a preposition just to bait me.Blanche: What would I do that for?
- In one episode of Person of Interest, a gang of masked mooks have spread out across New York City to cause mayhem to distract law enforcement from a major terror event. Two main characters get hold of the masks the mooks are using, stroll up to a mook, and accuse his group of being too close to the event while showing him a map. The mook is quick to defend himself, pointing out where the event is on the map and how they were nowhere close to it.
- In Blondie, Dagwood once noticed a bakery with a misspelled hand-lettered sign advertising something. He went in to correct it, and came out with food. The bakery owner indicated that he had intentionally done it, and it was bringing in a bunch of business.
- Beetle Bailey featured the same gag, with a misspelled "Dougnuts." After Beetle and Sarge leave with a bag of doughnuts/donuts (having stopped to report the error), the proprietor comments that the missing h brings in ever more business.
- A The Wizard Of ID strip had a merchant selling eggs, his sign reading "25 cents each, 3 for a dollar". A buyer points out that he should get four eggs for a dollar. As the buyer walks away with four eggs, the merchant gleefully thinks to himself that no one ever bought more than one egg before he put up his sign.
- A xkcd comic shows Cueball baiting a Grammar Nazi into making a false correction. note
- One Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic involved a psychopath taking revenge on his old grammar teacher - he locked him in a cellar with a bomb and a cellphone, telling him that he will receive a text and the bomb will go off if he texts back. The text contained a grammar error...
- Invoked in a World of Warcraft-based webcomic which had someone asking a polite question in chat and getting abuse and stupidity in answer. Someone sent a private message saying he doesn't know the answer, but he knows how to get it. He answers the question with blatantly incorrect information, and is immediately corrected by the trolls.
- In the Western arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space, the sign for the Glatisant Saloon says "Salooon" with three "o"s. People come in to point this out to Pellinore, and he says he'll have to fix that, but while they're here...
- In article for Cracked, Seanbaby called out the type of nerd that thrives on smugly correcting people for trivial mistakes and theorized that when they die alone, "they go to a hell where their mouth is taped shut for eternity next to people who keep saying that Carl Weathers was in Star Wars."
- In one episode of Retsupurae, slowbeef makes a joke about the laziness of Pokemon's animators, saying "They players won't care; they spent their 100 yen!" Later, when Proteus jokes that Kabuto is that "Japanese theater with the face paint 'n shit," he then immediately follows up by preemptively cursing out the people rushing to comment that he's talking about kabuki. Slowbeef then says that it's probably the same person who's about to post "you know slowbeef, 100 yen is not a lot of money." "100 yen is not a lot of money" immediately became the "Well, actually..." of the Retsupurae fandom.
- One Not Always Right story has some furniture salespeople who are fed up with a constant complainer. They intentionally bring furniture to her with an obvious flaw that they can fix in the truck, thus giving her a chance to complain but sparing themselves a trip to bring back the furniture if she complained after they left it.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, this is Lisa's reaction when Bart describes Zorro as a history lesson come to life when they go to see a film about it.
- In every version of Superman, Mr. Mxyzptlk can be defeated only by tricking him into saying, spelling, or otherwise indicating his own name backwards ("Kltpzyxm"). In one episode of Superman: The Animated Series, Superman (as Clark Kent) defeats him by casually telling him he can't fight him until he finishes proofreading the article he's just written. Mxyzptlk, impatient and annoyed at not being taken seriously, quickly proofreads it for him, crossing out his mistakes. The crossed out letters spell out Kltpzyxm and he vanishes before he realizes what he's done. In the same episode, Superman gets him by deliberately mispronouncing Kltpzyxm, prompting Mxyzptlk to correct him by saying it correctly.
- An episode of Pinky and the Brain had Brain filing a lawsuit, claiming to have been "transformed into" a mouse (he had used his robotic suit to pass as human earlier in the episode). The opposing lawyer pointed out that mice were not intelligent, and Brain, whose lawsuit was going poorly already and was starting to panic, tried to pretend that he was an idiot. The lawyer then threw a bunch of false statements at him, and Brain obviously struggled (and ultimately failed) to stop himself from blurting out corrections.