Archive for April 21st, 2008

I can punctuate however I want. to.

Posted on April 21, 2008. Filed under: HowTo, Musings, Philosophy |

I’m having an attack of typoitis. One of my few remaining faults (I only have four, now πŸ˜‰ ) is persnicketiness. Many books and articles these days leave the editing process with a lot of incorrect word usage. Everything is spelled correctly because it’s been through a spell checker, but as we all know these don’t check whether we’re using the wrong word altogether.

The words that drive me craziest are among the most common: “I don’t know when your going to the store, but don’t forget to take you’re coat.”

“See the frog jumping across it’s lily pond, where its nice and cool and green.”

“Will you go along, to? I don’t know how too get there.”

The first, in this last sentence is more common then the last. (Oops, their went another one! I heard you ask if there going to tell us when we get they’re. They told me it wouldn’t be than, but later.)

You get the idea. What bugs me about why this bugs me is that I don’t give a fig about wordy run-on sentences like this one having very little punctuation making you wonder if it’s ever going to end or go on and on until you don’t want to read the rest of this post. Or fragments such as this. Other grammatical liberties don’t bother me much either, as long as they literately express a consistent tone and quality. An infinitive is a wonderful thing to split!

I tend to see these little usage violations as expressions of my creative style. Punctuation? Forget about it. I put in commas and question marks where I please, and I reserve the right to be inconsistent about how and when I close parentheses, and whether within or without the final punctuation.

I do a flip-flop when it comes to spelling and word usage, though. I judge these things as more illiterate (there’s a phrase for you!) than the other errors I mentioned. We’re told that Shakespeare got to spell any way he pleased, so we should be able to do the same, right? My inner editor says “No! Wrong! Bad!” There is also the issue of typographical errors. These occur when our fingers move quickly over the keyboard (or thoughts move quickly over the mind), and we make some of those “your or you’re” or “to or too” errors even though we know perfectly well what the correct word should be. A common slip is to type “you” when we mean “your” and “and” when we mean “an”. I attribute these last to our fingers choosing to type the word that’s more frequently used. I forgive a limited number of these in casual writing such as blog posts. I even often forgive myself for these, πŸ˜‰ but they still tend to mock me when I notice them later: “Hah, you think you’re so smart going around blogging all day, and then you put too many letters in mee.”

You may have seen this floating around in emails or blogs:

Can you read this? Olny srmat poelpe can!

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? And I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Obviously, slpeling isn’t ipmorantt, so why am I so annoyed about wrong word usage? Nothing about this bothers me more than when I, myself, use the wrong word, which I did a couple of days ago in a blog comment. I was up late at night, I was “tired but wired” as I often am after a busy and active day, and I made more than one of these errors. The second was in an attempt to correct the first! I felt dorky and illiterate, but fortunately my friend sulz graciously decided to let me know about my first typo, allowing me then to come back and make the second. πŸ™‚ They turned into a rather humorous couple of comments. They really were typos, and not misspellings! I know which word to use in those situations, honestly! That’s my story and I’m sticking two it. πŸ˜•

Disclaimer: I claim no moral, legal or philosophical responsibility for any errors in the above blog post. If such are found they are due to (pick your favorite, I assure you it will be true): a. fatigue; b. the recent full moon; c. alien intervention.
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