Mistakes Happen

I grew up an avid reader and writer. I also grew up not being able to spell for beans.  Fortunately, the adults around me were supportive, appreciating that my poor spelling was not something evil, lazy, or even careless.  No matter how carefully I proofread, my written work was rarely error-free.  Spellcheckers came into existence when I was well into adulthood and while they have been an absolute godsend I still manage to get things wrong.  I may check and recheck a blog post, publish it, and then go back some time later and notice a cringe-inducing error.  Just the other day I posted something to a list serve and noticed right after sending that I’d used “their” when I meant “there.”  Red-faced I sent out a corrected version pronto.

Because of my own self-consciousness I’m very skittish about drawing too much attention to writing errors as they do in The Great Typo Hunt and Engrish.com. While I do understand that many are indeed careless others are not.  English is not a consistent language (and, boy do I remember a department chair consistently marking in red pen my misspelling of “consistently” in my student reports). Rules end up being broken (“weird” anyone?).  It can be hard to learn. My parents were German and so English was their second language.  While they both wrote well they also had little language glitches when they spoke. And so while such sites can be amusing (ditto cute errors by kids), I cringe at many of their examples thinking that they could all too easily be mine.

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3 responses to “Mistakes Happen

  1. Yes! We share the same love and loathing for mistakes (both ours and others). One that has shown up in my posts is “it’s” instead of the correct, “its.” This mistake for me is caused by an overactive computer spell checker that can’t imagine “its” ever being the correct word. I make enough errors on my own (and I have cringed because of there/their) without needing spellcheck to add to my humiliation. Now what mistakes have I made in this iPhone post?

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  2. Yes, I too find Iphone writing particularly challenging — not only spelling errors, but true typos caused by big fingers and a little onscreen keyboard. That said, I see no errors in your post:)

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  3. I loved this post, Monica. I wasn’t a bad speller until I started in late immersion (bilingual french/english at an early age has forever made it difficult for me to remember which words have -ence/ance endings) but I certainly appreciate and always try to have someone proofread things for me. Try convincing a spellchecker that an English (Canadian) word is an accurate spelling – and going back and forth for American and Canadian publications can hurt my head.

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