Fandango's Provocative Question #51


The Grammar Police

If people find typos or grammatical, punctuation, spelling, or usage errors in your posts, do you welcome having them pointed out to you, or do you resent it. As a blogger do you let people know about such mistakes or do you just let them go?

Fandango’s Provocative Question #51

Just this week I read that The Apostrophe Protection Society has been disbanded after 18 years so my attention was drawn to this question. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/12/03/us/apostrophe-protection-society-disbanded-trnd/index.html

I won’t pretend that I have perfect spelling or grammar and although I use Grammarly and proofread my posts sometimes errors creep in due to inattention. Nevertheless, I am one of those people that does notice poor spelling and grammar. It annoys me a lot when I see it in professional writing and it seems to be more and more common to find mistakes in news articles and opinion pieces. I guess that there are not so many human sub-editors about these days.

image plaque
This plaque is in the main street.

The poem above is about Geeveston and I like it very much but every time I used to stop to read it the spelling error at the end would grab my attention like a neon sign.

We’ve all read so-called instructions for products written in Chinglish and while they can be exasperating sometimes they make me laugh. I get more annoyed with people who post on sales sites, eBay, Gumtree etc and don’t seem to be able to string a sentence together.

I am a bit more tolerant of bloggers because I realise that for many English is a second language. I certainly admire bloggers who can write coherently about a subject in a language that is not their own. I have occasionally corrected grammar or suggested another way of saying something to blogging friends but only when the person has expressed a desire to learn more. English is a crazy language and sometimes must seem completely random to people who are used to more structured languages.

I also realise that a lot of people blog on their smartphones and I guess it is hard to read the writing on tiny screens. No excuse not to proofread your work though.

I guess that I wouldn’t mind if someone corrected my work if it was done in a polite and helpful way. I would be embarrassed because I don’t like to make mistakes but it happens. When I see errors in blogs that I am reading I generally let it go. The blogs I read are written by intelligent people who know how to communicate their ideas and if they make the odd mistake I think that like me, they probably just didn’t notice it when they checked their work, that it was a typo or autocorrect at work. If I was reading a blog post that really did have a lot of mistakes I’d persevere with it if the subject matter was interesting but I wouldn’t enjoy it as much.

Taswegian1957

I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on WordPress.com with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. My current housemates are Cindy, my 14-year-old Staffy-Lab X dog and Polly the world's most unsociable cat who is seven.

12 comments

  1. “… they probably just didn’t notice it when they checked their work, that it was a typo or autocorrect at work.”

    Proofreading your own work is hard. I do it, but I still miss more mistakes than I want to. I think the issue is that my brain sees what it expects to see, not necessarily what my eyes actually see.

    Like

    • I’m sure you are right. When I was taking a business admin class our teacher had us proofread each others work and even though we’d checked it ourselves there were nearly always things that had been missed. I guess the other way is to put it aside for a while and go back later with fresh eyes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Having to rewrite that poem would be bloody annoying seeing it is carved out on that wooden board. Be a bit like the cavemen. 😊 Nearly as bad as that one was the “Maximimum” signs on all of the railcars at the Adelaide Railcar Depot. I’ll leave Vanda to explain but it was rather a funny error. They all had to be replaced with the correct spelling. I’m not a great speller or much good at Maths or English but I do try hard to go over my work too as I like to keep up certain standards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that was a gigantic blooper and a good example of laziness about checking that work is correct. Someone in the head office decided that railcars should have stickers saying how many bicycles each car could carry. The stickers were designed, I don’t remember if that was done in house or outsourced but it doesn’t matter, hundreds of them were produced and sent down to be attached to every railcar. It was the cleaners who first noticed the error. In fact I think that Naomi and I may have been the first to spot it. “Maximimum” instead of “Maximum” and reported it. The stickers had to be replaced which must have cost a bit. I don’t recall that anyone thanked us for spotting the mistake either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No thanks there and not a shred of appreciation for all the shit I have to do at the hospital either. However I am not one of the Golden Girls or the Chosen One!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I always liked how supportive people have been in the blogging community when they realized that it is not my first language. I learned a lot this way. For example that “peoples” isn’t the plural of “people” but a word with its own meaning. Or the difference between “it’s” and “its” and many more. So, it was very helpful. You’ve been a help several times too in the past. I think anyone who is offended by corrections doesn’t truly want to improve. If a native tells you it’s wrong, you better listen and do your research to learn about it and soak it up.

    You use Grammarly too now and it works kinda well. But at times it really drives me crazy. Just a few days I was working on a post or draft for the future and it constantly wanted me to write “for 2 years” instead of “since 2 years”.
    I mean, I’d understand it if I wanted to write something like “I will leave my town for 2 years” but not if I want to write “I have the issues since 2 years”. Because “I have the issues for 2 years” sounds so strange to me. I am not sure if Grammarly wants to confuse me or if there is something I didn’t discover yet 🙂 And it’s just one example. Because there have been other cases where I was not sure if I or Grammarly is correct.

    I don’t understand how people can enjoy using mobile devices to write blog entries. Reading yes, but writing would be very painful without a keyboard. But that’s just me. I only did it when I repaired or upgraded my PC or if I couldn’t use it as the Windows installation routine was running. And maybe to type very short comments in bed after reading other blogs. But how do people say? To each their own 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have those issues with Grammarly too Dennis. Sometimes I ignore it and don’t make the changes it suggests if it doesn’t sound right. I like it for punctuation as I often forget to put commas in the right places although I usually catch them in proofreading before I post. It’s also handy for spelling. I only use the free version though. I also find that the US style of writing is different from my own British English. Australian grammar and spelling tends to be a mix of British and US. I don’t know what version they teach in schools now but I was taught British English so that is what I write.
      You write in English so well now that I think you can trust your instinct if something Grammarly is telling you sounds wrong. It is just a program after all. It can’t read your mind and know what you are trying to say.
      I agree that blogging on a screen would be very awkward. I prefer a keyboard and as I can type it’s faster for me. That may be different for a generation that grew up tapping and swiping I guess.
      BTW I would probably have written “I’ve had the issues for 2 years.” not sure if Grammarly would agree. I might even leave out “the” but that would depend on the rest of the paragraph.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Generally, we can say Grammarly works for proofreading. You’re right, it’s just a tool. And the plugin is a gift after WordPress awkwardly removed such a feature from our editor. I also use the free version because if I’d pay for every feature I discover and use on the internet, I’d go broke at day one of a month.

        We were taught British English in school but I bet my English is a blend of British and US English today too as I soaked a lot more things up on the web, which means I’ve also read tons of US news articles or British ones and most likely memorized things from both variants. I’ve actually had funny issues in the past, like having difficulties to decide if I want to write “colors” or “colours”. Not just with posts but also finding out that I had used both in the past when I tagged my posts. At some point, I had to decide and cleaned up the mess.

        I think German comma rules are quite a bit different, which is why Grammarly is a big help. I have difficulties with English comma rules and Grammarly gives me the “Ah yes, I’ve seen it written like that somewhere else” effects. With commas, I trust it a lot too.

        I’ve had the issues for 2 years, you say. No, it seems Grammarly agrees with you. 🙂 I like that, I should make more use of tense. I guess, when I think Grammarly isn’t correct in one case, I might have these impressions because I’ve never seen a native or news author writing like that. I think I used “the” because I explained the issue in the previous sentence in my draft… so, I believe “the” is like a reference to the previously mentioned problem in the paragraph.

        Thanks for the compliment again related to my English. If I become a teacher in another life, I gonna tell the kids “Create a blog, interact with natives and read their stories, write your own stories no matter how bad it looks like! It might not be obvious immediately, but you’ll learn incrementally and years later in retrospect, you all will wonder how your language improved”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s good advice, you absorb a lot just from reading without even realising it. Tense is something I have to watch when I write because I have a bad habit of changing from past to present tense and it looks sloppy so I often have to go back and change it but usually my first thought is “get words on the page.” then tidy it up.

        Liked by 1 person

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