One thing all writing instruction seems to have in common is the injunction to PROOFREAD. The world is harsh … don’t add to your burden by making foolish typos, and certainly, in this day and age of electronic spell check, never misspell a word.
Now, I have to admit, I’m a hell of a speller. I really don’t need the spellchecker, and I can go pages a time without that red underline that indicates a problem … and then it’s always a typo. Well, almost always.
So, this morning, I got a note from my college classmate, Jim. We were both English majors. He said, “I signed up for your blog…..”Pilgrimmage”….and just wondered if you intended to misspell (double “m”) the word, and if so, for what purpose?” He was nice enough not to finish the sentence (and me) off, with “, dummy.” Or, as Weezy, the Tracker in Hack the Yak would not have hesitated to say, “Dumbass.”
But I might be saved by older spelling, right? Anything not to bruise my ego further. Off on the web to variations on ‘Pilgrimage.’ Chaucer probably said, “Thanne longen folk to goon on Pilgrimmages.” Nope. The OED, that’s it. Some archaic form, right? But no. Just the entry, ‘incorrect spelling of ‘Pilgrimage’
So I have learned a valuable lesson today … don’t let your ego get in the way of the spellchecker, dumbass.
I wrote a note some years ago and mentioned in it some friends of ours named the Newtons. Spellchecker asked me if I meant: 1. Nuttiness 2. Naughtiness 3. Nudeness
Depending on the Newtons, possibly all three??
John…you do indeed have a gifted facile pen, but you are right about proofreading!
Ah, but the spell checker doesn’t distinguish between words like there and their, which many people on the Internet seem to choose between almost randomly. Yesterday, in a normally high-quality magazine, I found “for gear changes, acceleration, and breaking,” when what the writer meant was obviously “braking.”
Yes, yes. And it’s even worse with dialog. We all must give proper thanks to the spell checker software for reminding us that language is thought itself, and thought itself is pretty damn complicated. How nice!
I love it, John! Perhaps the words most singular and large, used as signifiers and headings, are last to be questioned or scrutinized as they sit in authoritative splendor over all. The Emperors, as it were, naked only without the presumptions handed to those in charge. Anyway, it made me laugh…
Thanks, Celeste. If something I write draws a laugh, that makes me happy. Unless, of course, I was being ponderous. Which is not too unusual, but I’m working on improvement.