Saturday, November 18, 2017

When Bad Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar Happen to Good People

 I'm delighted for these students but to paraphrase the words of Inigo Montoya, "This headline does not mean what they think it means."

For heaven's sake, where was the copy editor? Managing editor? Reporter? Anyone?

What ever happened to reading your work before hitting "send" or going to print?

It seems that more and more, people are making grammar and spelling errors that are funny to many, cringe-worthy to multitudes, but also embarrassing for the perpetrators; in many cases, they show an ignorance to rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation that should have been mastered throughout 12 years of school, not to mention college or grad school after that. It's getting so bad that HubSpot ran a blog article about this back in June. In fact, there are a lot of web pages dedicated to these writing snafus and I just found this Pinterest page devoted to these bloopers.

This need not be. Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of sites to use for doing a quick check on spelling (American vs. British English, online dictionaries) as well as grammar. Journalists and public relations/news release writers use the AP Style manual (I just looked to make sure it was in there, and yes, firsthand as an adverb or adjective is indeed one word!). Publications have editors and proofreaders (well, they should have them) as do ad agencies.

Have you read the wonderful book, "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation" by Lynne Truss? Please do. Do you check Go ahead, I dare ya. Or have a friend or trusted colleague read over your work before it's published. Please. There are plenty of resources available if you're not sure, folks—but if you are a writer, please, in the name of all things sacred, learn to spell and punctuate correctly, and check your work before it's printed, published or recorded.

Here's another goody for you, from a local restaurant:

Now, I know the owners meant that the place was "formerly" Giovanni's, since they changed the name (the tip-off). They did not mean that it is "formally" known as Giovanni's as in, "officially" and then misspelled "formally." I'm sorry, but the Grammar/Spelling bitch inside me says this is simply not acceptable. A friend of mine who is a printer said that printers may sometimes bring up suspected errors to clients if they have the time to do so (if they actually recognize the error, right?) but often they assume it's how the client wants it. I sure wish this restaurant owner's sign printer had noticed the error and corrected it.(I have fingers crossed that "cappuccino" is spelled correctly on the menu and that, here in New Jersey, the restaurant does not serve "expresso" but that's for another day.)

I believe we can partially blame spell checking programs for this social ill. I mean, why bother to learn how to spell when the computer will (not always) correct your mistakes? I also blame the societal meme about how no one has time to read anything, everyone is skimming, blah blah blah de blah ... I don't believe it and it shouldn't matter. That said, I would like to know who was able to read and decipher this nugget:asdf.jpg