Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The first (rather weedy) snowdrop of 2007

It’s sometimes interesting to contemplate the effect of people’s professional areas. For example, I presume that dentists are unable to resist looking at their friends’ teeth as they converse, while hairdressers probably consider what improvements they could make to the hair of people they travel with in lifts.

Being an English teacher, I’m naturally obsessive about spelling, sentence structure and grammar. I spend much of my day correcting students’ use of English and so can’t switch off. I have been known to correct apostrophes on notices. Our college, for instance, held a “Fresher’s Fair” in September. For one student, presumably. (It was actually a “Fayre”, but I really can’t bear to type that, except – oh dear – I’ve just done so.)

Now, there are various things that occur to me about this.

1. It’s much easier to notice other people’s errors than one’s own.

2. Nobody’s perfect – no, not even me - and I would be so embarrassed to find that I’d blogged a howler. I would much rather be told, so that I could change it.

3. Many of the blogs I read – and some are written very well indeed – contain an occasional mistake. Sometimes people misspell “definite” or “independent” or “fuchsia” (called after Mr Fuchs), or forget that “it’s” means “it is” or “it has”, while “its” means “belonging to it”. And I itch to point out these little… typos.

4. But I don’t think I will. Blogging isn’t homework. Nobody likes a smartypants. And in writing this, I'm probably dooming myself to write something really stupid, really soon.


  1. Please feel free to point out my howlers - I am a terror for typing definately instead of definitely, mostly because I rush it then get it wrong :o/

    I had a supervisor for my PhD who was obsessed with grammar - "only buses and money are due... compared with not compared to..." but I still remember these things so it must have rubbed off on me. A little. :oD

    I'd rather know I had done something wrong than keep on making the same mistake.


    PS. I never know where those little beggers (apostrophes) are meant to go.

  2. Loved this post. I try to write and speak correctly, but sometimes I'm sure it's more than a typo.

  3. OK Smartypants, we'll be watching our its and bits with extra care, now that we know the grammar police are on the prowl. Agree with beakus about those little beggers...and wanting to know! How's this for a howler. Saw it with my own eyes as I was filling the gas tank one day: "Obsoletely no checks." Let those who have not sinned have the first giggle...

  4. I'm with you 100 per cent - I'm noted for being a bit picky myself - but it seems we're a dying breed. Also agree that it's almost impossible to proof read your own work as you read what you expect it to say - and that's my excuse for my typos! PS have tagged you - see my blog - hope you don't mind.

  5. Ha ha Isabelle, I am soooo guilty of making mistakes!
    And I think Fuchsia may have been mine?? Always get it wrong!

    I can also be a bit of a 'fuss pot' as as my grandmother would say, but please, feel free to correct me!

    Indidentally, it must be a 'specialty' habit, as I have a teacher cousin, who is the most dreadful speller, & also his writing/printing leaves much to be desired!

    I love Spring bulbs, & mourn the fact that they dont like our hot Aussie weather.

  6. And there is a glaring mistake--- indidentally??? Sounds like a bad dentist.

    Obviously, I meant incidentally!

  7. I notice too but I figure I blog in a glasshouse ..

  8. Well I have neva used the word Fusha in my blog, so's I no yous are'nt talking about mine.

    It must be someone's elses.

    I am a stickla for grammer and speling, I woul'd just die if I got it bad donely.

  9. I stand corrected...don't know why I thought fuchia was spelled fuschia - perhaps the label on my pot plant was incorrect too?

  10. Hello, I've wandered in from 'blog land' and thought I would comment about this particular post (about spelling errors etc). I'm always finding errors in restaurant menu's and it annoys me. Avacado. Red wine reducsion. Cuppucino. Perhaps it's because I have not achieved academically or vocationally as much as I dreamed I would by now (I'm 37, trained in travel and cookery, but essentially a relatively newly-wed housewife with an 11 year old daughter who I was a single-mum to for five years)! When I see spelling errors out there - I think "Oooh, I could have your job -and at least write the menu without mistakes"! Or even "You're not as clever as me, yet you probably earn a good wage --phoney!" I know, I know it sounds very bad. I know I'm just sulking and envying people in the 'land of the living'. (Employment outside of the home). I was relieved to read that there are others out there too that feel 'anal' about it all.. but we just can't help it!??

  11. Good heavens --a woman after my own heart! The other day I was reading a book and came across the sentence "I could care less..." I thought "WHAT IN THE HECK are editors for?"

  12. Oooh, I'd love it for someone to point out my howlers too! I'm often horrified to re-read something I wrote and find them glaring back at me. The mistakes aren't because I don't know better -- more that I'm just too much in a hurry and tend to write the lazy way I speak. So sad.
    And how lucky you are to be in Scotland -- I do so love it there!