Every week I send out a blog post that I have proofread — at least once, but probably twice — and still, I get word from my readers that the post contains a typo. It is embarrassing, especially for someone like me, whose business is words and using them properly. I promise I will proofread this post at least twice!
The point is that we all need to proofread our writing, whether it is a written business letter, an e-mail memo, an advertisement, a social media post, or even a tweet. Oh, and it goes without saying that we authors need to proofread our books a zillion times.
Disclaimer: This is not a political or partisan post, but it will likely turn out looking like one! So, here we go . . .
When my writing contains a typo, my readers may notice and tell me about it. Social media and the internet in general have made errors much more public. I have a fair amount of readers of my books, my posts, etc. HOWEVER, when the leader of the free (well, so far it is still free ) world and his administration make mistakes, it is Big News — at least on the opposing political side (which is what I am familiar with), a side that is substantial.
I started to collect some of the things I heard about on the news, and then I researched a few other “typos” recently made by our current administration.
I use the word “typo” loosely. There are a couple of different things that can be called “typos,” sometimes euphemistically.
- Sometimes two letters are reversed. Sometimes the finger just lands on an adjacent key by mistake. Sometimes a word is repeated, or one is left out. Sometimes, maybe the wrong punctuation mark is typed. Okay, sometimes, perhaps the wrong “to” is used. These are typos.
- Sometimes something is simply spelled incorrectly. Or the wrong punctuation mark is used, creating a grammatical mistake or something so unclear it is unreadable. Sometimes, people make up words. These are not typos; these are mistakes.
- And then, of course, there is “fake grammar,” “fake punctuation,” and “fake spelling,” but these don’t exist.
Here is just a sampling of “They should know better”: (They means the president unless it says otherwise.)
- Lead is in pencils. The past tense of the verb lead is led.
- President and precedent are two different words with very different meanings, although they are both nouns. (I will give him that.)
- Bigly or big league? I don’t know. Apparently, it is big league, since bigly is not a word. However, I heard big league used where it really didn’t sound right. Bigly — if it were a word — would probably be an adverb. Big league seems like an adjective when the two words are used together. For example, “The crime in Chicago is big league.” I wish I remembered the context to which I am referring, but I don’t.
- Non-sense? Ah, no. It is nonsense. (nonfiction, nonfat, etc.)
- Look-up is not hyphenated as a verb. For example, “I am going to look up this phone number.” However, I saw it used as such.
- I saw nucular in a Tweet. I don’t think that is a typo!
- “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE.” That sentence would be a run on — a comma splice, to be exact. And besides, it is shouting when you use all caps.
- Names of the leaders of our allies should be checked to make sure they are spelled correctly. It is Theresa May of Great Britain, not Teresa May.
- Okay. This is kind of a tough one, but the Secretary of Education should be more careful! It is W.E.B. Du Bois, not DeBois. Would you like it if I called you Betty Du Vois instead of Betsy DeVos?
- Oh, and then she sent apologizes instead of apologies.
- The inaugural poster has been withdrawn from sale. Why? “No dream is too big. No challenge is to great . . . “ I guess the challenge of using the correct to was too great.
- The word congressman should be capitalized.
- A tweet said pervail instead of prevail. Typo or misspelling? You be the judge.
If you can figure out the meaning of either of the following two passages, please let me know!
“There’s nothing that would conclude me — that anything different has changed with respect to that time period.” — Sean Spicer
“Today I have authorized lethal drone strikes against Jerry Brown, a Colorado marijuana dealer and Miss Universe 1996.” — Donald Trump
Proofread, proofread, proofread — and let someone else look at what you have written!
Addendum: Frederick Douglass died in 1895, I believe. His last name is spelled with two ss‘s (I am not implying here that anyone spelled it incorrectly), and if his last name is made possessive, with three ss‘s. (Frederick Douglass’s hat). Just saying . . .