Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Readin' and Writin' and Spellin'

I hope this post doesn't come across as snobbish, but as a writer, I'm expected to have a certain grasp of the English language. I admit I don't know all the comma rules, but if I say so myself, I send in pretty clean copy. Probably my biggest issue is spelling. There's just no excuse for submitting misspelled words.

Mistakes happen, and sometimes out will go through instead of our, and because it isn't misspelled, the spell checker in my word processing program won't catch it. Just look how this poem illustrates that:

Candidate for a Pullet Surprise
by Mark Eckman and Jerrold H. Zar

I have a spelling checker,
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in it's weigh.
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when eye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The checker pours o'er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.

Bee fore a veiling checker's
Hour spelling mite decline,
And if we're lacks oar have a laps,
We wood bee maid too wine.

Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know fault's with in my cite,
Of nun eye am a wear.

Now spelling does knot phase me,
It does knot bring a tier.
My pay purrs awl due glad den
With wrapped word's fare as hear.

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should bee proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaw's are knot aloud.

Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear four pea seas,
And why eye brake in two averse
Buy righting want too pleas.
Nifty, huh? ;-)

I've discovered a real lack of good spelling skills lately. I've been perusing Craigs List looking for some items and I'm just appalled by what I read.

For example:

30" by 60" Marble Dinning Room Table and 4 Chairs - $200 (Arab)

I have a beautiful dining room table and 4 chairs for sale. Can e-mail photos but please if you are not interested do not contack me. I have had many in the past and when I sent them photos they did not even take the time to replay saying they were not interseted.

That should be dining room table. And contact. And reply. And interested though you got that one right the first time so I'll give it to you as a simple typo.

Queen Solid Oak Rice bed with chester/Dressor - $400 (Scottsboro)

Queen Size Solid OAK Rice Bed with Jamison Versa Pedic Bedding (Bedding -Value$1100) . Sleeps WONDERFULLY. Moving MUST SALE. Comes with Dresser with Mirror. and Chester drawers (5drawers)Medium to dark in color. Asking $400 or make respectable offer. Call XXX-XXX-XXXX. this is a steal.

Excuse me while I laugh over Chester drawers.

Armour cabinet/ Cherry in Color - $125

Cherry ARMOUR . Stands aprox 6 Ft. . Two doors with small shelving down one side and two larger shelves on the other.

I believe that should be armoire. I really hoped I was going to see a photo of a cabinet to hold a British knight's jousting suit.

Polish brass bed full size - $100 (madison)

Polished Solid brass bed with black laquer fininsh on parts. posts are solid brass. $100.

I wasn't aware Poland was a hot spot for the manufacture of brass furniture and then I saw they meant it was shiny and not from the land of kielbasa. Okay, so it's not misspelled. But it's a good example of how the wrong word can change the meaning of something.

L-SHAPED DESK MUST SALE!!!! - $150 (Huntsville)

L-Shaped Desk in Excellent Condidtion. Storage Kept - No Weather Damage!!!! Priced to Sale!!! Very Sturdy Dimensions 8 X 6(roughly)
The photos were taken outside dis-regard the sun shadows on the desk.

Dear desk owner!!!!
The correct wording would be priced to sell!!!! I will dis-regard the sun shadows if you'll exercise restraint with your exclamation points!!!!
Furniture for Sell (Hazel Green, Al)
This person has the opposite problem. The heading should be Furniture for Sale.

Beautiful Dinning Room Set Never Used - $600 (Harvest Alabama)

Great for Small Dinning Room or Kitchen Paid $1500 never used. Looks New. Beautiful Chairs and table. Custom Made Chairs. Gold and Silver color of chairs. Goes with any room.

I see Harvest has the same dinning room problem as Arab.

Dinning room table and chairs - $250 (Huntsville)

Dinning room table, with leaf and 6 chairs, 1 is a hoast, with arn rest. Made of maple, with fruit wood stain, was my grandparents and bought in 1960.

And so does the city that put man on the moon.

Occasional Arm Chair - $100 (SE Hsv)

Occasional arm chair, color dark green background with small mauve print. Outside measures 28"W x 27" D x 33.5"H. Comfortable and in good condition. Relatively small size makes this chair a good choice for apartment or small living room.

Are there frequent arm chairs?

Bakers Rack (Rod-Iron) - $100 (New Market, AL)

Beautiful Rod-Iron Baker's Rack!!! Two glass shelves, and built in wine bottle rack at the bottom!!! Would be beautiful in a a kitchen and perfect for a college student, or for someone who is just starting out!!!

Wrought iron!!! Wrought iron!!!

Wood folding dinning table w/ 2 wood chairs - $70 (Madison)

Apparently all of north Alabama has a dinning room problem.

Bedroom suite - $200 (Madison)

Cherry wood Bedroom suite including Chester Drawers, full size bed head and foot boards --Sliding mechanism broke on one of the drawers but every thing else is in good condition.

Now I'm laughing my arse off over Chester. And he has bed head too. Maybe I should take the exclamation point shaker and add some of those!!!!

enternment Cabnets (Winchester,Tn.)

2 enternment cabnets with storage made for TV also just make offer. one is brown in color and the other one is black

Just shaking my head here because I can't even think of a smart comment. The only thing that comes to mind is internment camps during World War II and those weren't funny.

Are these simply random exceptions to the rule? Do you guys find things like this online? Or am I making too much of a deal over this?

P.S. Be sure to come back tomorrow for our special guest blogger Anna DeStefano! Her latest book, a paranormal titled DARK LEGACY, was released on Tuesday.


Linda Winstead Jones said...

I see this sort of thing all over. Makes me sad -- and yes, sometimes makes me laugh hysterically. We nerds are so easily entertained. :-)

What got me here was the desk with no weather damage. Maybe it's just me, but I keep my desk indoors where that's NOT A PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Problem Child said...

~Bangs head on desk. Repeatedly~

I, too, am a product of the Alabama Public School System. It makes you wonder how I ever got into a good college, doesn't it?

A "hoast" chair? Very Sturdy Dimensions? Dog help us.

Smarty Pants said...

Unfortunately, this stuff is way more common than you'd think. Dealing with writers most of the time, I think we get spoiled. Then I get an email from someone else that looks like a recklessly crafted random letter from a serial killer - no capitalization, no punctuation, words misspelled so badly its sad - and I realize a grasp of English is really a rare asset these days.

I have a desk without weather damage too. Rarely rains in my office. Giggling over chester drawers and armour.

Smarty Pants said...

RANSOM LETTER! Not a random letter! Completely deflates my point when I make a stupid mistake while arguing. Grr...

PM's Mother said...

Do people never really get any smarter?

One of the best kept secrets of my life is that I, PM's Mom, was the 1939 Spelling Champion of the Greenville County (South Carolina)school system. I, too, abhor misspelled words.

In my early years as Classified Advertising Manager at our local newspaper I cringed at the spelling mistakes some of my staff let through:

Chester drawers was one of them; close line (should have been clothes line) was another, as was Alice (should have been Allis) Chalmers tractor.

Just weeks ago I read in the Georgia Times Union classified ads Pets For Sale section that a person had a Rock Wilder puppy for sale. I just laughed and shook my head at that one.

I checked this very carefully for spelling errors...

Playground Monitor said...

I'm not sure going to public versus private school makes any difference. I've seen kids from private schools with equally poor grammar and spelling skills. The teacher makes a big difference as well as whether the student actually wants to learn it. The state Teacher of the Year can't get across basic grammar to a student who doesn't want to learn.

PM's Mother said...

Smarty Pants,

A "random" letter could have been correct. If you had not corrected yourself I would not have known the difference.

Playground Monitor said...

Rock Wilder puppy. ::snort::

Angel said...

This does drive me crazy.

Anyone else find themselves editing copy as they read it? Boxes, school newsletters (some of the worst!!!), advertisements. Bugs the heck out of me. I mean, how hard is it to get someone to proof something before you send it out?

And don't get me started on contest entries with misspelled words. I'll grant you a couple, heck, maybe even 3. But one on each page? That's just distracting...

Rant over. ;)


Instigator said...

As someone who has comma issues I tend to let some grammar problems slide. I draw the line at misspelling common words. We now have a nifty (:-)) thing called an online dictionary. Takes three seconds to call it up and look up a word. I use it on a daily basis. I think we need to take out an add on Craig's List to advertise its presence.


Murielle said...

I would like to have a Rock Wilder puppy; I think it would be cool. lol

Lynn Raye Harris said...

OMG, that is hilarious! Thanks for the laugh, PM. Spelling drives me insane too. I'm always correcting these things and grumbling aloud about them when I read them. But yeah, I really do believe much of America can't spell worth a crap. It's sad, really sad.

I was the 5th grade Spelling Bee champion of my entire school -- and I came in 2nd in the district. :) And yeah, I know some clunkers get by me from time to time. It happens.

Maven Linda said...

Commas are easy; you put them where you want the reader to pause. Sometimes I leave them out even though technically a comma would go there, because I don't want the reader to pause. I'm the traffic cop of what I write, so I can :-).

I'm having fun imagining Very Sturdy Dimensions.

Also noticed "laquer" instead of "lacquer." That has to be a simple typo, because otherwise the word would have been spelled "lacker."

Some people are just oblivious to words. I don't understand it myself, but it's true. My husband has no spelling skills at all, unless the words are related to fishing. No joke. I've known him to spell "water" with two Ts, "Baptist" can become "Babtist" if he's writing it but you know what? He's never misspelled "chartreuse." Why? Because that's one of his best colors for fishing lures!

LeaannS said...

Believe it or not, this is not a product of the Alabama School System. I get essays from all over the world (English-speaking countries) and am amazed at the number of people who believe "are" means "our" (and not because they are ESL - English as a Second Language)! My favorite poster when I was teaching middle school said, "Your pencil doesn't have a spell check." Not that it matters, because I got an essay in yesterday while tutoring where the student had at least one word in every line that was underlined with red squigglies, but they didn't fix them. I was the second tutor on that essay, too, so it was obvious they just didn't care (they didn't make any of the other suggested corrections either). Sigh.

Actually, Linda, that's what I tell my students when comma rules get too complicated - do you need to pause there? You often find that where you would pause is where the grammar rule tells you a comma goes. Amazing, isn't it?

BTW, are word verification words supposed to be real, because if they are, they need a spell check too. What is "untse"?

PM's Mother said...

Let's keep the mirth going here:

Frequently there are certain styles of chairs that are referred to as "occasional chairs". Your bad!

As to "Entemment" cabinets -- could they mean caskets, or interment cabinets?