I have a brother who spells worse than I do, but his defense is rather brilliant. He says, “I feel sorry for anyone who can only spell a word one way.” Laughter makes a typo go down a little easier. We are our own editors: that is always a challenge when you are editing your own material. Our sources may be wrong from time to time, so point that out. Two wrongs don’t make a write. We will not point out puns. If you spot them, fine, but we are not going to insult you by saying “no pun intended” when that is really what the person who uses that express intends. We will avoid the use of clichés, another tricky part of writing. We will be inclined to say “He went stark raving cool” instead of “stark raving mad.” It only rains cats and dogs at the pound. We can do better covering downpours on the prairie.
Twitter has made typos permissible. Is lol lots of love, or lots of laughs? Is the CIA the spook house in Langley, Virginia, or the Culinary Institute of American, in Hyde Park, New York? And as an aside, the sculpture of the first spy in America, Nathan Hale, is in the courtyard of the CIA in Langley. It is a casting of the original at Yale University where Nathan Hailed from. Since there were no likenesses of the original Nathan, they got a student on scholarship to pose for this one. Spy work at its best!
How is this for begging your forbearance before we get started. We welcome you pointing out our errors of omission, and we pledge to do our best at avoiding errors of commission. If you want to engage us, let’s agree on terminology. What does compromise mean? What does the simple word throw mean? To toss, to heave, to scatter? An effective way to engage with someone you might disagree with is to identify a third-party source both of us can analyze separately and then compare notes, observations, conclusions. For example, if we disagree on the political party trends in the US, let’s look at The Cook Political Report. If we are on the opposite sides of the Brixit problem in the UK, let’s see what The Economist has to say. These are not on our normal reading list, but therein lies a place we can meet to start a dialogue., sources that don’t exactly roll off our shelves or ones we’ve benchmarked.
And we usually use spell check, but it misses the its vs. it’s and the their vs. there. We take no comfort in the fact that online magazines, blogs and others with larger staffs have typos. Some sources have advocated abolishing adverbs. Some still spell internet with a capital but spell radio, telephone, telegraph, phonograph–once breakthrough technologies as the internet–with a lower case first letter. We also abhor the addition of the word “wise” to verbs and nouns: in football, saying “passing-wise” or “play calling-wise.” And then the ubiquitous “have got” used in a sentence as “I have got two more things to say,” regularly heard on CNN and MSNBC. Got should be gone, and have should be restored, or does it matter. Finally, we have no grammar police on these pages. While we avoid semi-colons, we might miss or misuse a comma or a colon. We could have had a V-8.
Regrettably, mostly in our private lives, it is not what we say but how we say it that gets us into trouble.
Someone might start an online confessional booth where writers and bloggers can confess on Friday, party on the weekends and start fresh on Mudnay.