Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Spelling Nazi Begs to Differ

NOTE: While looking for an old essay I wanted to cite in my essay about monarchy and elective government (which is now finished except for links to the articles cited -- and one citation, as I just mentioned) I came across a few interesting articles. "You Gotta Have Faith" and "Private and Public Coexisting" are just interesting. I sadly had no essays in which I could cite the, and thus must simply justify reproducing them by arguing they are worth the effort on their own merits. "The Spelling Nazi Begs to Differ" and "And Then My Head Exploded", on the other hand, struck me as some good examples of my sometimes amusing "Grammar Nazi" and "Spelling Nazi" posts (along with my occasional end note complaining about the Firefox spell check software). One day I hope to repost the entire series, as I also hope to reproduce all my work on the FairTax and Wikipedia's shortcomings. For now, I will satisfy myself by printing these two. Unfortunately, while I was spending my time posting these four essays, I failed to find all the links for the two completed articles I have waiting (yes, the two mentioned in "Coming Soon".) But I hope to wrap that up tomorrow, so please check back.

I found a list of 8 common spelling mistakes. Ignoring whether they are spelling or grammar mistakes (a point several comments make), I have to say that it misses the most common : ridiculous! How many millions of posts out there describe their "rediculous" adventures? Strangely enough, I have yet to see anyone discus "rediculing" someone, but then again those using "rediculous" don't seem to include that word in their vocabularies.

In terms of grammar, the most common mistake, included in a promo for TNT is the confusion of less and fewer. If an item can be counted, you have fewer, if it can only be measured, you have less. Less time, fewer minutes. Less money, fewer dollars. I know it is confusing as "more" is the opposite of both, but it really isn't that hard. And, TNT, you can't have "less commercials". (Another pedant apparently beat me to the punch on this one, though I did not know about it until I tried to check whether it was TNT or USA that used that slogan.)

I will leave it at that for the moment.

For those interested in other rants concerning spelling and grammar (rather than the political and economic tirades in which I usually indulge) I am providing a list of previous posts:
Spelling Nazi
Badly Chosen PC Words
Why Worry About Grammar?
Spelling Nazi Part 2
Why Spelling Matters (Again)
Spelling Nazi Part 3
It Warm's The Cockle's of my "Heart"
Tiny Grammar Gripe 
Grammar Nazi Extra 
Poor Grasp of the Meaning of Hypocrisy 
Pronunciation Nazi 
Grammar Nazi 
A Grammar Nazi Rerun
Book Reviews? Calling All Readers
Oh No, Not Again
Conspiracy Theorists' False Logic (how bad spelling exposed a suspect document)
Oh No, Not Again
Why Spelling Matters, One More Time
Beyond Grammar and Spelling
A Thought on Iran (see footnote on transliteration)
Spelling Nazi Revisited
Grammar Nazi Gripe
To be fair, we all have words we habitually misspell. "Hilarious" is mine, and "missile" for some reason I tend to double the L in the former (as well as in a few other words such as "traveller"), and remove the second I in the latter. I am aware that no one is a perfect speller. However, some of these spelling errors are so basic, and so lazy, that they drive me mad. The same with the grammatical errors. For instance, if anyone thought for even a moment about the phrase "I could care less", they would have to realize it should be "I could not care less", as otherwise it means there are additional depths of apathy left unplumbed. But people seem to want to take as little time as possible communicating, and just toss out whatever strikes their fancy, regardless of whether it makes sense.

Then again, the results of such careless writing are often great for a laugh.


Yes, I realize the irony of someone as typo-plagued as myself writing about careless communication. Even granting my convenient excuse that my health problems cause me to have difficulty typing at times, I could still quite easily go back and proof read with greater care. On the other hand, while I may sometimes have letters reversed, or omitted entirely, I have never written "Where U B @?", "L8R", "kewl" or "U2 R rediculus". So, while I admit to a small degree of physical laziness which prevents me from properly proof reading, I still feel a bit superior that I have never indulged in the intellectual laziness that causes most of the errors I mock. I may sometimes fail to put in all the work required, but at least I do apply all the necessary thought.

Sounds a bit arrogant now that I put it in writing, but I can't think of a more humble way to phrase it. So, much as I hate to come across as an insufferable snob, I'm afraid I have to let it stand. I suppose I have no choice but confess that I find poor proofreaders superior to thoughtless writers. (On the other hand, I will gladly accept the mockery of thoughtful writers who adequately review their finished work. They are free to view me with scorn.)


And fortunately I caught a sentence where the number of the subject and verb did not agree before anyone else noticed and mocked me for my lack of thought. I will accept the mockery about my typos, but after the second postscript I am quite glad I corrected the more serious error (arguably showing quite a lack of thought, and about a very basic principle of grammar) before it was noticed.


Apparently, not only did TNT use this poorly worded slogan before, but I complained about it in my post "A Grammar Nazi Rerun". I suppose I should check such things before writing new posts. Then again, if I don't recall having written it, what are the odds any of my readers will recall it either? So perhaps I am safe repeating myself, so long as I wait long enough before doing it.

Spellcheck Update:  I haven't complained about Firefox's built in spell checker in some time, so even my regular readers may not recall the many complaints I have voiced, but trust me, it is one of the least reliable spell checkers I have ever encountered. The reason I mention that now is, while writing a response to one of the comments I received, I had to type one of the words form the original article I cited above. And, oddly enough, while typing "irregardless" I noticed that Firefox apparently thinks that IS a word. So, the spell checker which does not accept indices, rejects advisors with an "O", accepts only very specific spellings of moslem, and otherwise drives me mad with strange spelling rules thinks that irregardless is a real word. Unbelievable!

Originally posted in Random Notes on 2009/09/24.

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