Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Not the same thing

As I may have mentioned in passing, I can't stand atrocious spelling or poor grammar. I'm not talking about those infrequently-used words that you type and then think Um. That doesn't look right... I mean common, everyday words that so many people get wrong. Wrong spelling, wrong context, wrong tense, whatever.

You see a lot of it on blogs and forums - not everybody is a top-notch speller, and I suppose not everybody cares about it anyway. But I see more and more rubbish spelling and grammar on websites promoting professional services, and in magazines. Charlotte and I discussed this the other day, and she told me that when she reads a fitness magazine these days, she wants to put on her editor's hat, grab her sticky notes and make corrections everywhere. I understand exactly what she means.

Here's a tip for publishers: When you appoint someone as an editor, sure - maybe it's appropriate to choose someone who understands the subject matter, so that they can check the content of articles. But if they have zero skills in writing plain English, they're not likely to be capable of fully carrying out the editing part of the job, are they?

Anyway, back to the spelling nazi....

I don't really think that synonyms are all that difficult to sort out - these might sound the same, but they have different meanings:

Kerb/curb. You might curb your appetite, but you step over the kerb to get from the road to the footpath.
Rapt/wrapped. *sigh* You may be rapt in your man, but being wrapped in him sounds like a contortionist trick. Or a sex act.
Compliment/complement (tricky). You can pay someone a compliment on how well their shoes complement their outfit...
Their/they’re/there. I'm not even going to explain these. If you don't know the difference, you're beyond help.
Loose/lose – hell, they don’t even SOUND the same! One’s a long vowel sound, the other’s short. I have actually seen the phrase "loose weight" in a magazine. And the author wasn't talking about a bag of dumbbells.

There are plenty more, but you get the idea.

My pet hate at the moment is this: The French word "voila" is not spelt "Wallah". (How could it be? You pronounce the V sound).

I’m not trying to offend anyone, but this is like a festering abscess with me. You know: it’s a blessed relief when you just lance the thing and let it all out. I blame texting - it's made people lazy. Come on, if you're not using your tiny phone keypad, It isn't that much more effort to type "you" instead of "u".

Sometimes I just get my cranky on. I’ll be fifty at the end of the year – that must technically make me a crusty old crone, and surely it’s compulsory for crones to be cranky?

Any other spelling nazis out there? Hit me with your pet hates in the comments. Please.


Kathryn said...

"devine" -- arrgghhh hate it so much. It's not even a word.

Also "chic" used instead of "chick".

Laughing at the wallah thing. I've never seen that (or maybe I didn't but didn't get the context).

Kek said...

Devine. Maybe they mean that building company that Michael Caton does the ads for... :p

Oops. I just realised I misspelt "dumbells". Two Bs, dumbarse! Fixed now. LMAO.

Cherub said...

We were talking about this last night. Since being out of an office environment for so long, I admit that my grammar is not as it used to be but I am aware of this and do my best to check. Another admission, loose and lose I have to think about every time - but at least I think!

Affect and effect!!! drives me crazy.

Cherub said...

OMG you have me paranoid. Do you know how many times I read that last comment before I submitted it. I even copied it to Word for a spelling and grammar check!

Fifi said...

my pet hate is people who pronounce the letter 'H' as "haitch". It's not haitch...it's "aitch". It's in the dictionary as "aitch" dammit!

I've sent my kids to school with a dictionary to show the teacher how to pronounce it, because when I've tried to tell them it's AITCH they have informed me that their teacher says HAITCH. arrghh!!

Ok...there, pet hate off my chest.


Kerry W said...

Or is it 'grumpy old woman(like grumpy old man)'? He..he...:P

My pet hate: your, when they should be using you are or you're. When to use apostrophes is a real challenge, which sometimes I get confused with. Mainly in relation to 'ownership'. I think I need some revision on grammar.

Kek said...

Claire, affect and effect always make me stop and think too. Sorry about the blog-induced paranoia. LOL

OMG, Frankie, that is one thing I cannot stand. AITCH, people, AITCH!

Kerry, how many professional signs do you see where an apostrophe has been inserted where it has no business to be? Aargh!

sallyb said...

Oh, god - I'm a teacher and I cannot believe how kids try and get away with poor spelling and grammar in essays and assignments! I too blame texting.

I have quite a few pet hates on this subject - many of which have been mentioned above (I've got a whole language hate-zoo out the back...), but two that get me every time - and I can't for the life of me understand how people get away with it - are no capital letters at beginnings of sentences and for proper nouns and when people say "arks" instead of "ask". It just grates on me every time!!

There, I feel so much better. Thank you!

Charlotte Orr said...

LOL, good post Kek.

MTB Girl said...

Even better than "wallah" is viola. No, that's an instrument, I don't think it's what you meant.

Yep, your and you're, their, there and they're are favourites of mine.

Haitch is taught in QLD - not my fault, but I corrected it years ago.

Watch out, there are a few apostrophe nazis (or is that nazi's) watching :P Better get those devine banana's.

I love a good play with grammar and spelling :) but agree totally with Charlotte in wanting to get out my red pen when reading a magazine or newspaper.

Magda said...

I'm with you Kek. I must have been an English teacher in a previous life because bad spelling and grammar really piss me off, especially in a professional business environment.

Raechelle said...

Bad spelling does bug me in blogs...but definitely more so in magazines...I'm paying for that..the least they can do is get it right.
I know that personally, I get allot of those affect and effect type words wrong myself-but I ain't getting paid...lol!
Oh, but totally agree about the you're and your...it bugs too!

And now I'm totally confused guys...I thought Australians naturally said HAITCH FOR H...I thought it was just us yanks that say AITCH.
And, when I say herb...I prounounce it erb...I always get made fun of by Australians! So, witch is it? (kidding..I know it's which)

Sara said...

Affect = verb.
Effect = noun
You affect something to produce an effect.

'Depravation' - saw this on on Bill Phillips Transformation site yesterday.

It does get to me. I've seen major spelling mistakes or grammatical errors on the front covers of magazines and in newspaper headlines. In a blog I don't mind so much, but in a publication that people pay money for? Nope.

Vix said...

I LOVE this post, Kek. I am also a self-confessed spelling and grammar Nazi. SO - in addition to all the common ones you have pointed out, in the fitness industry (in particular the competition circle) I LOATHE seeing the word 'bikinis' with an apostrophe (as in bikini's).
There. My two cents worth ;)

Debstar said...

OK, now I want to hide under the computer desk. My spelling is ho hum, my grammar is total crap and I often get past and present tense mixed up. Actually I wonder how people can bear to read most of my stuff.

Kek said...

Debstar, your spelling can't be too bad or I'd have stopped reading long ago. :p

Unknown said...

I think mine has got to be 'loose wait', or 'loose weight' or 'lose wait', or any variation of the above.

Drives me BONKERS!

Sue said...

Hey I take offence to the use of devine, that's my maiden name.

Oh and I am Devine LOL

Kek said...

No Sue, you may be of the Devine family, but you are divine, luvvy.

kexkez said...

Someone I have known for years who is a professional writer posted just yesterday how horrified he was to read something where someone use the word faucet for facet.

Unknown said...

Hmmmm- crusty old crone and not yet 50? where does that put me?? lol
I'm a bit of a spelling nazi too but there are some words I really stumble over- you would think I would have it fixed in my head by now!!
Teaching ESL students the past couple of years has really made me think about grammar and how much I take for granted and.... how little I remember about it!!!

Shauna said...

There's a show here in the UK called That Mitchell And Webb Look and last night they had a sketch in which a grammar pedant boss massacred his employees for bad grammar in a meeting. Among the offences: pronouncing H as haitch, EXpresso instead of espresso... you would have been howling at the telly with joy. I was :)

Kek said...

Waahh! No fair, Shauna, the Brits get all the good TV....

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