Archive for the ‘spelling’ Category

I forgot to proofread! Plus, COMPLEMENT and COMPLIMENT.

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

I said I was back on schedule, but then yesterday, some "evil" prankster hacked my blog site. I owe a big thank you to my "web dean" for chasing away those ugly black eyes and getting the site back up and running within hours.

There is egg on my face today! If you read Grammar Glitch Central regularly, you know I say a lot about proofreading. Well, Monday morning early, as I read through some posts on another website, I came across a sentence with a Usage Glitch.  Between yawns, I sent off an email, pointing out the error.  (See below.) Later in the day, this good-natured person politely pointed out that I had added an extra letter to the end of a word in my message. It was a typo, but I SHOULD have caught it by proofreading. Mea culpa.

Here is the sentence I was a little too quick to correct:

All of the arts tend to compliment each other.

The word COMPLIMENT means to praise or flatter someone, as in Anatole complimented me on my writing style. Artists might COMPLIMENT each other's work, but I was fairly certain the word needed in this sentence was COMPLEMENT, which means to complete or bring to perfection, as in Her striped umbrella complements her trendy trenchcoat. (The good-natured writer agreed when she responded–it was early in the morning for her, too, and she had overlooked the Usage Glitch.)

She wanted to make the point that the various forms of art bring each other to perfection, which is a wonderful perspective.  The sentence should read this way:

All of the arts tend to complement each other.

I hope you'll visit again tomorrow. I'll talk then about verb tenses and time frames, using some examples from an essay on chess written by one of my readers for whom English is a second language.

“Overall, this book was well done.” Really?

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

You have probably seen the news stories about the fourth grade textbook, Our Virginia: Past and Present, that contains numerous errors.  A panel of historians was asked to vet the book after the national buzz created by the book's  statement that units of African American soldiers had fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Not only did the panel discover a number of factual errors in the textbook, they also found grammar and punctuation errors as well as the following misspelled words:

development (developement)

secession (seccession)

necessary (neccesary)

amendment (ammendment)

separate (seperate)

It is interesting to me that a good spellchecker would have spotted any one of these misspellings, yet neither the author nor the editor nor the three elementary teachers who originally reviewed the text bothered to run one. There are also little tricks for remembering difficult spellings.  I have always pronounced the word SEPARATE with an emphasis on the PAR to help me remember that it has an A rather than an E in the second syllable.  I rarely misspell the word NECESSARY because it cost me the Cuyahoga County Spelling Bee championship one year because I spelled it exactly the way this textbook did–with CC instead of SS.

Among the factual errors cited by the panel of historians were these:

The Confederacy had 11 states, not the 12 claimed in the text.

American joined World War I in 1917, not 1916.

The War of Independence began in 1775, not 1776.


One of the historians who reviewed the book stated that, although there were errors, she considered it a well done book overall because of its conciseness and its age-appropriate writing style.  Although I think it is important for textbooks to be interesting and written on the right reading level, I could not judge anything "well done overall" if it contained as many errors as this book does.  We owe students reading material that is not riddled with mistakes.


BONUS POINT: I loved the "Bumper Snicker" quoted by Driving Miss Crazy in The Birmingham News yesterday:  I before E except after C…Weird?  In English, there is ALWAYS an exception!




Comford Food? Freinds and Family? Paula Deen spellchecker needed!

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Paula Deen is branching out with a new furniture collection for every room in the home.  A recent ad in Shop280 & announces her collection, which can be seen at TD's Fine Furniture Outlet in Sumiton, Alabama:



The ad refers to Paula Deen's "love of hospitality and comford food."  It also suggests that now is the best time to "let these furnishings welcome your freinds and family in and truly bring comfort home."

I do not know if these glaring spelling errors are the fault of Paula Deen's staff, the staff of TD's in Sumiton, or the staff of Shop280 &, but they certainly detract from an otherwise appealing ad.  I would guess that almost ANYONE who took the time to proofread this copy would have spotted both of these.

Just in case, COMFORT has a T on the end, and FRIENDS follows that old elementary school rule of I before E except after C.