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Words Are Out to Get Me. No, Really

I’m not paranoid. I just happen to know that a well-organized cabal of sinister words is out to get me. They’re out to publicly humiliate me by proving that my copy editing skills are somewhere between those of George W. Bush and those of Dan Quayle.

For example, yesterday, after twice going through an article I was copy editing, I took one last look at the document and saw this: “Lisa enjoyed math class more then history.” That’s right, that evil little “then” got past me twice. I know the difference between “then” and “than.” It’s simple. Yet this sneaky, evil little bugger almost made a fool out of me.

Here’s another I came across not long ago. “The golfers come from such places as Buenos Aires, Argentina; Caracas, Venezuela; Bogota, Columbia; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.” Catch it? If so, you’re doing better than spell check and better than I did on a first read. It’s Colombia. Not Columbia.

If there’s a leader of the conspiracy, it’s “lead.” Like some kind of evil twin, “lead” likes to stand in for “led,” knowing full well that the metal “lead” sounds exactly like the past tense of the verb, which is spelled “led.” The dastard.

Occasionally, “lead” will recruit new words for its evil cause. Take “peddling,” which recently tried to pass itself off as “pedaling.”

These are ones I caught. Have others gotten past me? Will any of these get past me tomorrow? Are they concocting ever-more-clever ways to get past me, for example, by using words like “complement” and “judgment” to create a diversion while they slip a misused “there” past me?

Not if I remain in a state of cat-like readiness -- a caffeine-fueled, edge-of-my seat mindset characteristic of one of those Jason Bourne movies. If, every time I enter a document, I look under every pronoun, stare down every past participle, then those sinister little words can’t take away my job or my self-respect.

But what’s most important is knowing, deep down in my heart, that I’m not paranoid.

8 Comment count
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Not only would spell check

Not only would spell check miss those but so would Microslop Word grammar checker.

I just LOVE the politically correct grammar checker in Word, by the way.  It replaced my perfectly legitimate "Battle-ax" with "Belligerant woman."  After this inexcusable violation of my prose, I permanently disabled grammar checker.



Eric P. Nichols P.O. Box 56235 North Pole, AK 99705 (907) 488-0483 kl7aj@acsalaska.net eric.nichols@eielson.af.mil http://ericnichols.net

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I'm actually pro political correctness. But that is inexecusable. A software program has no business making judgments like that. "Battle-ax" as a term for a woman is wonderfully powerful. Yes, it's offensive, but that's its power! Microsoft is way out of line trying to sanitize it.

I'm appalled!

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Best typo of the year

By the way, last week, our local newpaper had this item.  "Bestspelling sci-fi author Dave Marusek will be giving a reading and booksigning in Anchorage......"

 Now, how do they determine who is the best spelling author?  I think my spelling is pretty good, but there are a lot of words in a novel.  Not to mention, most of the editors at major publishers are pretty meticulous about spelling.



Eric P. Nichols P.O. Box 56235 North Pole, AK 99705 (907) 488-0483 kl7aj@acsalaska.net eric.nichols@eielson.af.mil http://ericnichols.net

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That's a good one!

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June, unless I am reading

June, unless I am reading something about the Hardy Boys (which is seldom if ever), the homonyms that trip me up are hardy and hearty.

I've heard others confuse prostrate and prostate.  :-D  I wish they'd just use the word prone instead. 

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I'm glad they don't use prone

The suggestion that someone could be "prostate on the floor" can provide hours of fun.

: )

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True.  Very true.  The

True.  Very true.  The giggles more than compensate for the mistake.

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your and you're. I know it

your and you're. I know it well, but I'm always getting arrested by my internal grammar police.