1/12/2008

Mr. Rewrite is NOT a 'great big meanie'



Here's a campaign issue Mr. Rewrite can support. The proper noun error cited by the fellow above -- Amtrack instead of Amtrak -- is on the White House Web site. You'll even find a handful of Amtracks on Google News. Yeesh.

Let's see what else is in Mr. Rewrite's mailbox ...

1) Props, as the kids say, to Tom for offering the first comment on Mr. Rewrite's blog. Mr. Rewrite had his money on you, Tom, since you're just about his only reader. Meanwhile, Tom has a Texas-sized gripe about people who misspell names attached to those pithy quotes that close many e-mails. Tom's particularly tired of seeing Gandhi's name misspelled. His example, which he says comes from someone eminently qualified to know better:

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. ...........Ghandi

Yikes. Mr. Rewrite can offer only this (again): Check those proper nouns, especially when you're trying to seem well read. That goes for the media as well. Mr. Rewrite finds dozens of Ghandis on Google News, most of them misspellings of the Mahatma's name. Hey rama.

We can't let these mistakes get us down, Tom. As Neet-cha said, "And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

2) Speaking of "eminently qualified," here's a Reuters article quoting an analyst as saying the new head of Starbucks is "imminently qualified" for the post. You'll find a handful of "imminently qualifieds" on Google News. Yikes.

3) The British Museum demonstrates the importance of proofreading. A gentleman allegedly peddling fraudulent artifacts is exposed when an official spots misspellings on items sold as ancient Assyrian reliefs.

4) Savor a fine whine by a newspaper columnist peeved about repeated grammar errors. What irks him most? "Me and him," followed by plurals formed by apostrophes, followed by its/it's errors.

5) Here's an interesting column on language by June Casagrande, author of Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies. She discusses bad grammar examples on TV, among other things. Mr. Rewrite corresponded with Casagrande a bit in this blog's previous incarnation.

6) Yet another article features Craig Silverman, author of Regret the Error, the book and the blog. Among his points: The rush to be first in a 24/7 news cycle contributes to media errors. Silverman also says the abundance of information available online often leads the media to cite erroneous information.

7) Poor grammar and spelling in e-mails can hurt your career, a writer contends in this missive. Another writer says these errors can hurt your business too.

8) The Orlando Sentinel's public editor commits the newspaper to fewer errors in 2008. Highlights from 2007 include several misspellings of Gov. Charlie Crist's name as Christ.

9) Ooh, here's a good reader rant about the chancellor of District of Columbia public schools using "it was like: X" and phrases like it in a Washington Post "first person" interview. Here's the chancellor's introduction:
When I joined Teach for America, my parents were like: "What are you doing? Get a real job."
She uses this construction four times, including this highlight:
The Washington Post had done this huge article on the front page [essentially asking], "Can D.C. schools be fixed?" My mother looked at it, and she was like: "Holy crap! Are you going to be able to do this?"
When Mr. Rewrite read this, he was like: "Oh my goodness. Who is teaching our kids?" In her defense, if there is a defense, the chancellor was speaking, not writing. And Mr. Rewrite has been known to drop an occasional "like: X" in conversation. That usually prompts a scolding from Mrs. Rewrite, and Mr. Rewrite is like: "I'll do better."

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