“In high school I tried out for the spelling team, but only because I really wanted a letter jacket.”
― Jarod Kintz
Definition: A framework on which fabric can be held taut for drying or other treatment during manufacture.
Definition: to tempt, attempt, try
So…who’s up for some “tenter” flat iron steak?
Wow. I have seen some whoppers in my day, but that one (see my photo above) was a big error. And if you look close, you will see another glaring mistake.
Words spelled incorrectly, phrases used in the wrong context – one can see these in newspapers, magazines, ads and so forth. They are nothing new. In fact, Jay Leno made a name for himself by airing some of these awful mistakes during his “Headlines” segment.
In an editing class I took about 10 years ago, our professor would give us extra credit for errors found on the front page of the paper where he was employed. Suffice to say, I received extra credit every week.
And that was a decade ago. Since that time, the errors seem to be getting worse.
Trust me, I will admit that I bend almost every grammatical rule in the English language. Yes, I end sentences with prepositions – I even start sentences that way! I make errors, letting my participles dangle for all to see. But no matter what I am working on, I always have someone read my work before I submit it. From newsletters to articles, they will be looked at before I send them off to an editor. Bless his heart, no matter where my husband is in the world, I send him my work and ask him to proofread. After he looks it over with fresh eyes, I am confident enough to send my work to an editor, and let a professional polish my words, making them presentable in print.
Errors will happen, but I think the reason they are so prevalent these days is that we are taking humans out of the equation. Print publishing has taken a huge smack in the finance department. Professional writers, like me, have seen pink slips and pay cuts. Many have changed careers, so the field of qualified proofreaders is shrinking. In the meantime, editors have become over-worked and underpaid. Therefore, mistakes are made.
My assumption is that corporations seeking to save a dollar have found it cheaper to use spelling and grammar software than to pay a professional who has a firm grasp of the English language. The cheaper-than-an-editor forms of copy editing and proofing ensure that the errors, which used to happen on occasion, now happen on a regular basis.
In my humble opinion, I find that this is a huge mistake.
Standards for our language have been edged out by electronic communications. Shortened words and phrases due to texts and Tweets make for an abbreviated form of the written language. And, may I add, this is spilling over into our verbal communication skills as well. But I digress.
So, excuse me while I jump up high here on my soapbox, as I want to share a few pointers with those who feel writers and editors are expendable:
– Spelling skills matter.
– Good writing is an art.
– Fact check before printing. One “Googled” source doesn’t count.
– Let a human proofread.
– Using slang? Don’t rely on reality television. Double check the term with Urban Dictionary for context.
– Using foreign terms? Look up spelling for those words and phrases, too.
If you are a business owner, pay for a professional writer to either write or proofread your company’s communications, to include email blasts, newsletters, Web content, Tweets and blogs.
Never underestimate the power of an English major. For, at the end of the day, we have a
tenter tender heart for those who appreciate us.
Do spelling errors drive you crazy? Share in the comments section.
© Lynne Cobb -2013