Desert Desert Dessert

Jasmine and I were debating about whether to post about the misspelled word in a front-page headline in today’s issue of the MRT. I haven’t checked to see if the offending headline made it onto the website, but knowing Jeff McDonald, I’m sure it was corrected before it went online.

Jasmine is an educator and her profession is devoted to attempting to ensure that such things don’t occur, so her natural inclination is to make a fuss about it…and rightly so, from that perspective. I tend to be more sanguine about the situation, being a longtime practitioner of the art of making widely-viewable mistakes. It’s not that I condone lax proofreading or whatever flaws in the editorial oversight process that allow such things to happen on a mystifyingly regular basis, but I no longer get a thrill out of pointing out such obvious mistakes.

I guess I’m all too aware of my own shortcomings in this general area.

Oh, I’m a pretty good speller, and I could probably score about 90 in the grammar category, but I’m a total goof when it comes to things like punctuation (to name but one example). I realize that my approach to punctuation is akin to dropping a handful of bee-bees on a tile floor; I just throw ’em out there and hope they land in spots that approximate the same placement that Mrs. Buster, my 5th grade English teacher, would have used. I’m sure I fail miserably most of the time. In particular, the elipsis is my downfall…I use it all the time, but rarely correctly, I suspect. It just seems so…well…so doggone handy…you know?

Anyway, for those reasons Jasmine and I agreed that it would be inappropriate to post anything about the headline typo. So, you won’t see such a post here. Nosireebob.

[By the way…speaking of grammar and spelling and the other black arts of the occult, is the subject of this post a complete sentence? I contend that it would be, with the addition of one bit of punctuation. Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves. And here’s a hint. The subject line could be a legitimate follow-on to this:

“Regardless of the fact that its sweetness has served you well in its capacity as a coda to your wilderness dining experiences, you are hereby directed to abandon it forthwith, leaving it to its own devices in a means that might appear to some as ruthless and, perhaps, even illegal…but these judgments are meaningless to such as us, are they not?”]

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  1. That’s a good way to remember it. I’ve never had trouble with these two words, but I can never remember how to spell “embarrassed.” (I think I got it right, but no guarantees.)

  2. You really don’t have all that much to worry about, Eric. One of the (many) reasons your blog is so enjoyable is that you take such care in proofreading it.The Gazette is an exception to the rule. Spelling and grammar are, for the most part, utterly ignored on-line and increasingly off-line as well.
    In all fairness, the seriousness of spelling and grammar mistakes depends almost entirely on the context. Blogs, live journals, or discussion boards are “casual” communication mediums and most people take an equally “casual” approach to spelling and grammar. Heck, I do the same (even though I still try to double-check what I’ve written). The big exception is when someone starts criticizing another on academic or intellectual grounds. Mistakes are ruthlessly pointed out in rebuttal.
    It’s an interesting reflection of the on-line world. The printed word has become a communication medium with varying degrees of formality and allowing for varying degrees of accepted spelling and grammatical accuracy.
    The professional world still expects perfect spelling and grammar. Would you trust a company whose web site claims, “We take pried in our attenton to detail”?
    How about an OS that gives you the option, “[]Close this window when donwload is complete”?
    Go ahead, laugh. That’s a genuine Windows message.

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