Friday, March 6, 2009

Spell Check

I am completely paranoid that someone will think I'm stupid if I misspell things. Like this whole part of my self image is caught up in correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Not that I always use correct grammar and punctuation here in my blog, but here I try to write as I would speak to you, and that is not always in proper grammar. I sometimes worry that I use commas a little too liberally, but I want to be clear that wherever you find a comma in my writing is where I think the pause should be in the sentence. On occasion I leave commas out too, usually when I'm passionate about something and if I was speaking to you I wouldn't have stopped to breathe.

Which reminds me of a time, I think in junior high, when a friend (who will remain nameless) made a sign for her bedroom door that said "Stupid people shouldn't breath". I'm sure I made fun of her about at the time, which was mean, but it was kinda funny, and it kinda still is. Isn't it She who will remain nameless? It does prove my point though. One little letter can make the difference between you making a statement or making a funny.

Now that I'm done giggling, there's the whole topic whether or not to place a comma before the final item in a list. I was taught that it is necessary so that you can distinguish whether the items before and after the "and" go together. Otherwise you end up with "The restaurant serves several sandwiches including tuna salad, turkey, liverwurst and peanut butter". Is that three kinds of sandwiches or four? Now if you punctuate it this way "The restaurant serves several sandwiches including tuna salad, turkey, liverwurst, and peanut butter", it's clear that the liverwurst is not going to be sharing the cozy confines of two slices of bread with the peanut butter. Whew! Now I know there are many people who will still disagree with me, but I insist it makes way more sense my way.

I'm usually pretty accepting of other people's grammatical and spelling errors. One of my best friends was dyslexic and everything he wrote was phonetic with a dash of transposition mixed in. I didn't think he was stupid at all, in fact I knew that he was probably the most brilliant ever person I had ever met. Let's just say he WAS a rocket scientist. I learned how to read his writing and could always understand what he was trying to say. That taught me not to make assumptions based on people's writing.

There are a few things that still bug the crap out of me no matter how hard I try to just overlook them. The biggest one is the There, Their, and They're mix ups. I have a friend that ALWAYS mixes them up. It makes me absolutely nutty. I just want to fix them for her. The thing is, she's really smart too. I think it bugs me so much because I worry about how people reading it might think she's uneducated because of it, but yet I struggle with how to tell her that she's doing it wrong. People don't always respond to that kind of criticism well.

When we were first married, my husband really didn't like me correcting him when he was writing letters, but I did it anyway. You see, this is different than the situation with my friend because if people thought my husband was stupid (which he isn't) it had a direct impact on me. It took some explaining, but I was finally able to convince him that it wasn't a bad thing that I was correcting his mistakes. I just felt that as a married couple we should support each other in areas that we are weaker so that together we are stronger. There are things that he is way better than I will ever be, building things, fixing things, driving really big trucks, and there are things that I am better at, mainly the written word. He finally got over feeling like I was trying to prove I was smarter than him and now asks me to proofread almost everything he writes.

So I struggle with telling my friend about her There, Their, and They're mix ups. I don't want her to think that I feel that I am somehow superior because I know how to use them correctly.

And LOOK a Kitty!!!

I sometimes also get off topic and end up writing about something completely different than I had planned. ADD can be fun like that. It's a fun game of follow the train of thought.

You know what inspired this post?

Why I hit the little button that says create new post?

I forgot to spell check the last one.

I do this a lot.

And there is usually an error or two.

The most common ones are because I type really fast and my fingers don't always end up on the keys that they should. Occasionally it's because I don't remember, or care to waste brain power, figuring out if a word has a double letter. Sometimes I really don't have a clue how to spell something obscure and figure if I can get close the spell checker will be able to give me the proper suggestion. The spell checker has become a crutch, and yet I hobble around without it and hit publish post without using it more than fifty percent of the time. I found this ironic and decided it was worthy of a post. I now realize that post would have been really short, and you would have missed out on the amazing mental picture (or would it be mental taste) that is liverwurst and peanut butter. Not to mention the lesson in how to convince your husband that your criticism is really a good thing. Informative stuff tonight folks! I hope you enjoyed it.

Now it's time to spell check.

I spelled punctuation puncutation
Proper accidentally got two p's
Liberally ended up with only one l
and I really did think that liverwurst was liverswurst
(but I don't eat the stuff, so how should I know?)
but they are all fixed now.


just beth said...

she who will (not) remain nameless TOTALLY remembers that! bwahahahahaaaaaaaa! dear lord. Stupid people SHOULDN'T breath, you know? nor should they BREATHE. but i certainly don't want their breath around me, either.

or do I not want there breath around me?




Lorna said...

I didn't know if you wanted to claim that, so I thought I'd leave your name out just in case.

Mrs. B. Roth said...

Cute post ... I worry, I edit and reedit. And still make mistakes. I usually just hope that people's brains will do that automatic fix the error thing (mine almost always does if I'm not reading as an editor).

Once I left a comment on a blog that I LOVE (the husband of a friend's), saying that I helped my husband edit his novel and would be happy to help him if he ever wanted to write a book. I hit publish comment a split second before I realized .... wait, lemme grab a link to the actual post so all can see my stupidity: here you go.

I learned never try to be smart. Cuz I just aren't.

Anonymous said...

Use Firefox instead of IE - It has a built-in spell check that will underline the word you just wrote in red if it doesn't recognize it.

And my dear sister has had *issues* with speeling all her life (did you see what I did there?). It started with "strobes" and went downhill from there.