grammatically correct : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

The Wheel of Questionable Spelling

Had a laugh this morning as I thought about today’s Theme Thursday, which is: full circle.

I was looking for a sign from the universe, a whisper from The Muse, an idea to bonk me on the head that fits with the theme.

The laugh came when I realized that all I had to do was look at my coffee cup.

Here’s where the circle begins:


Originally published November 7, 2008.

Alternate spelling, alternate universe

You may recall from a post a while back that I use my secret agent 007 stealth first name when I order coffee and they ask for a name to write on the cup.

My secret agent name is Lucy. I use that name because it’s:

1) easy to pronounce

2) easy to spell

3) heard clearly over the whooosh whooosh sounds of an espresso machine

I borrowed this name from a friend (who has my same real first name) because of the ease of use.

Until this past week at the Honolulu airport.

They asked my name. I said Lucy. They nodded and wrote the name. I got my beverage and it wasn’t until I was on the plane that I noticed.

You can’t make this stuff up.


And here’s where the story comes full circle:

Truth must be stranger than fiction, even on the mainland, because this morning I went to my local coffee slinger and used that same nom de bebida.

And this is what I got:

Questionable spelling skills, a feature of at least two of our fifty states.
Side note: look how much the quality of iPhone photos has improved in four years. Amazing.

6 Writing Tips From John Steinbeck

It would appear there is an internet meme going on lately concerning writing tips from classic authors. So far I have come across 10 Tips on Writing from businessman David Ogilvy and Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments, both very worthy reads.

Yesterday, I came across an article in The Atlantic titled 6 Writing Tips from John Steinbeck.

This is the advice that really resonated with me…which is odd because I have such a love-hate relationship with Steinbeck.

My first foray into Steinbeck was in High School where I was held down against my will and forced to read Grapes of Wrath. I *hated* Grapes of Wrath. Loathed. Jettisoned the book across the room in disgust more than once. I found it over the top, preachy and that alternating narrative about the Joad family interspersed with expository about the Depression and the Dust Bowl was dreary and overworked.

My next read was The Pearl, which I read grudgingly because it was Steinbeck, but I actually enjoyed in spite of myself. Then I read Of Mice and Men which I found to be a cruel, sad book, but the writing was solid. Then, because I liked the movie, I gave the book East of Eden a whirl and found it to be only so-so.

So I’d given Steinbeck a chance, didn’t like his stuff, and from High School on, I read zero Steinbeck. I wasn’t having it, unh-uh, no way.

I was vocal and insane about how much I WOULD NOT read Steinbeck.

Enter my multi-talented and fabulous cousin. Two years ago, he was in town and we went to Monterey to celebrate his birthday. While there, he asked if I’d ever read Cannery Row and I said no. Then I issued my overworked rant about Steinbeck.

He said, “You should give it a try, I think you’d like it.”

Well that was that. If my cousin said try Cannery Row, then by god I had to try it.

I went to the library bookshelf and plucked the slim tome from the pile and gave it a read.

I loved it. Every word, every story, every character so utterly perfect. I really actually truly loved and adored a Steinbeck book. Magic!

So when I stumbled across Steinbeck’s writing tips, I paid attention.

My two favorite books on writing are Ray Bradbuy’s Zen in the Art of Writing, which saved my life during my first real and profound battle with writer’s block, and Stephen King’s On Writing (which my rock star cousin gifted to me, because he’s so right on like that).

The little list of Steinbeck’s advice is pasted below…this now goes in the favorite pile too.

Here it is:

From The Atlantic.

Suggestible Girl is Suggestible, and her German is Poor.

I am one of those uber suggestible people who will hear a word or a phrase used a few times then will immediately adopt it into my language. Especially if it’s a word or phrase I particularly like.

A a few weeks back, I heard the good man use a particular phrase, and it kind of rolled off of me. But then a few days later I heard it again on a rerun episode of Boston Legal.

Well, that was that. The phrase is now mine.

However….I’ve used it twice and only realized today I’ve been saying it wrong. I am now one of those pseudo intellectuals who try to talk big and end up sounding like a dope.

The correct phrase is: sturm und drang. Literally translated from German, it means “storm and stress.”

This phrase applies in oh-so-many ways to my current work environment. I have a new employee, I have three major global projects on the front burners, and just for fun, it looks like my team will be moving under the leadership of a different department all together. It’s all good change, but change nonetheless, and it is keeping us hopping.

So I’m at least using the phrase in the right context, but saying it wrong. All along I’ve been saying storm and drung.

No wonder I get so many blank stares. That and the fact I was suddenly speaking (incorrect) German.

Maybe I should just drop an Eastern New Mexico twang on top of it all and say storm and drain.

“Ya’ll, this storm and drain over the past weeks is just about wearing me flat. We need to set us up a little ol’ project plan before things get crazier than a March hare ’round here. Whaddaya say?”

I like it. I haven’t gotten real New Mexico on these folks in a while.

I have a meeting in forty five minutes.

It’s so on.

Today’s Theme Thursday word is: Storm

Photo from the City of Davis Public Works site.

Hablo en Google

As a native child of New Mexico, I am neither unfamiliar nor uncomfortable with the Spanish language.

That said, the Spanish I speak is a informal blend often referred to as “Spanglish”.

Un poquito English. A tiny bit Espanol.

This is both a help and a hindrance in my daily work.

I’ve had a chance to chronicle my extensive work learning the ways and means of my counterparts in EMEA.

I’ve discussed my ongoing learning curve with my coworkers and suppliers in APAC.

It was inevitable…my focus has arrived in Latin America.

Right now I work mostly with Brazil and Mexico.

Since I have zero Portuguese and my Spanish cannot be considered appropriate for business, I have come to rely on Google Translate to do my daily job. I was using BabelFish for a while, but I’ve come to realize that Google Translate is actually a lot more accurate and it handles colloquialisms fairly well.

Even so, it’s not perfect. I really have to watch how I craft my emails. I love the English language and I love to play it fast and loose with grammar and word use. This does not always work well in translation.

While Google will properly translate the words, the meaning gets lost and I will usually get either an “I’m sorry?” or a simple “Que?” from my friends in Latin America.

Ya can’t just throw down a “This ain’t my first rodeo!” or “Put up or shut up!” and expect that’s going to come across the way you meant it.

To make matters more difficult, I’m not only working with people in my own company, but I’m also negotiating with suppliers. Now to my mind, negotiating is a fine art. Language and word choice can be everything.

So I feel a little hamstrung trying to work a deal in another language that I can’t speak. (wait, does “hamstrung” translate?)

For Mexico, I have a buddy in my organization who is originally from Mexico City. So far he’s been willing to be a translator and negotiator on my behalf and he’s doing a great job. I thank him profusely every day.

No such luck finding a native Portuguese speaker who is friendly to my cause.

So it’s off to Google Translator and hope for the best.

Actually, I’ve been shocked at how well I’ve actually been able to complete my work. Here I am cutting multimillion dollar deals with just an online translator and a bit of attitude and somehow, it works. I am able to have Legal review in each country to be sure it all stays the way I negotiated it, and that helps me stay out of trouble.

I love language and I love using language to be persuasive at the negotiation table.

So working through an online translator feels like I’m roping a wild cow in that proverbial rodeo and doing so with one hand tied behind my back.

I’m gonna guess that didn’t translate well.


I Speak Google

Como un niño nativo de Nuevo México, no soy ni familiar ni incómodo con la lengua española.

Dicho esto, el español que hablan es una mezcla informal a menudo se refiere como “Spanglish”.

A little Inglés. Un pequeño poco Espanol.

Esto es una ayuda y un obstáculo en mi trabajo diario.

He tenido la oportunidad de trabajar una crónica extensa aprender las maneras y los medios de mis colegas en la región EMEA.

He hablado de mi curva de aprendizaje continuo con mis compañeros de trabajo y proveedores en Asia-Pacífico.

Era inevitable … mi enfoque ha llegado a América Latina.

Ahora mismo trabajan sobre todo con Brasil y México.

Desde que tengo cero portugués y mi español no puede ser considerado apropiado para el negocio, he llegado a depender de Google Translate para hacer mi trabajo diario. Yo estaba usando BabelFish por un tiempo, pero me he dado cuenta de que Google Translate es en realidad mucho más preciso y se maneja bastante bien coloquiales.

Aún así, no es perfecto. Tengo que ver cómo me artesanía mis correos electrónicos. Me encanta el idioma Inglés y me gusta jugar rápido y libremente con la gramática y el uso de la palabra. Esto no siempre funciona bien en la traducción.

Mientras que Google correctamente traducir las palabras, el significado se pierde y yo por lo general se convierte en un “lo siento?” o simple “Que?” de mis amigos en América Latina.

Ya no puede lanzar una “Este no es mi primer rodeo!” o “poner o callarse” y esperar que va a venir a través de la forma que quería decir.

Para hacer las cosas más difíciles, estoy trabajando no sólo con la gente de mi propia empresa, pero también estoy negociando con los proveedores. Ahora en mi opinión, la negociación es un arte. Elección de la lengua y la palabra puede ser todo.

Así que me siento un poco paralizado tratando de trabajar mucho en otro idioma que no puedo hablar. (Tiempo de espera, significa “paralizado” traducir?)

Para México, tengo un amigo en mi organización que es originario de la Ciudad de México. Hasta ahora ha estado dispuesto a ser un traductor y negociador en mi nombre y que está haciendo un gran trabajo. Le doy las gracias profusamente todos los días.

No hubo suerte para encontrar un hablante nativo portugués, que es amigo de mi causa.

Por lo que es de al traductor de Google y esperar lo mejor.

En realidad, he sido sorprendido por lo bien hecho, he podido completar mi trabajo. Aquí estoy haciendo tratos multimillonarios con sólo un traductor en línea y un poco de actitud y de alguna manera, funciona. Yo soy capaz de tener opinión legal en cada país para asegurarse de que todas las estancias de la forma en que lo negociado, por lo que me ayuda a mantenerme fuera de problemas.

Me encanta el idioma y me encanta usar el lenguaje para ser persuasivo en la mesa de negociación.

Así que trabajar a través de un traductor en línea se siente como que estoy cuerda una vaca salvaje en ese rodeo proverbial y hacerlo con una mano atada a la espalda.

Voy a suponer que no se tradujo así.

Image by Jakub Krechowicz and used royalty free from stock.xchng.

Oh, November

Masochism! It’s what’s for Thanksgiving dinner!

Yup. November means it’s National Novel Writing Month, a fun event where writers around the world challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel in just thirty days.

And after taking last year off, I’m back, baybee!

This will be my sixth year through the meat word grinder.

Along with blogging every weekday. And holding down a full time job. And having some semblance of a life.

Apparently I like the pain. 1667 words a day, here I come.

These Spammers Are Getting Pithy

Today, as part of my regular blog maintenance, I went into my spam catcher widget and took a look at what’s been caught.

I look it over because occasionally I’ll find a comment that shouldn’t have been marked as spam, so I like to check.

Usually it’s the normal stuff: Cheap Rolex! Pen!s enlargement! Xanex, cheap and easy!

To be expected, I suppose.

But today, I’ve noticed a bit of a change. An advancement.

Those comment spammers are getting smarter.

Here’s a sample of some of the actual comments caught in my spam queue. These completely cracked me up today. I’ve added what I’d respond if I was the sort of person who baited trolls:

“How do i delete everything on my laptop?”

Why, is the laptop stolen? Let me know when you find out.

“Why is my browser redirecting search results to fake search engines?”

: shrug : Sounds like user error to me.

“Whoever wrote this, you know how to make a good artcile.”

Why thank you! I think. Wait, what’s an artcile?

“The genius store called, they’re rnuinng out of you.”

Flattery will get you EVERYWHERE. Ok, that got my attention.

“And I thguhot I was the sensible one. Thanks for setting me straight.”

Good thing you’re not the spelling one.

“Please teach the rest of these internet hloiogans how to write and research!”

If only I could, darlin’, if only I could.

“Information is power and now I’m a !@#$ing dcitator.”

And what does that make me? I’m GOD baybee!

“I came, I read this atricle, I conquered.”

YEAH you did! Raaawwr!

“Free knowledge like this doesn’t just help, it pomrtoe democracy. Thank you.”

Wait. Can you both be a dictator and promote democracy?

“This free sharing of inforamotin seems too good to be true. Like communism.”

Wait, wait, wait. Are we a dictatorship, a democracy or communists? This is getting very confusing.

“Wham bam thank you, ma’am, my questions are anserwed!”

Buddy, this is not that kind of blog. Take your wham bam somewhere else.

“Boom shkalaaka boom boom, problem solved.”

Ok, maybe this is the kind of blog that boom shaka boom booms…hard to know.

“This piece was coengt, well-written, and pithy.”

Your comment, however, was not. Besides, who uses pithy anymore? And is coengt supposed to be cogent? Inquiring minds need to know.

“Brilliance for free; your parents must be a sweetharet and a certified genius.”

Why you gotta bring my parents into this?

“You put the lime in the ccoount and drink the article up.”

Best. Comment. Ever. In the history of this blog. All other commenters, take heed. This is the apex of comment glory!

You drink this article RIGHT up! That’s right you do! Drink it in!

“Great hammer of Thor, that is powerfully helfupl!”

Glorious right boot of Wonder Woman, you’re welcome!

“I could watch Schnidelr’s List and still be happy after reading this.”

Now THAT’s a compliment! Well done, commenter.

“I hate my life but at least this makes it berablae.”

My powers are stronger than even I suspected…..

“Four score and seven minutes ago, I read a sweet article. Lol thakns”

Ok, that’s kind of charming.

“With the bases loaded you struck us out with that awnser!”

A baseball metaphor *always* works with me….

“I bow down humbly in the presence of such gearnetss”

I am a benevolent God. Mostly.

Whew! Good stuff. Made it kind of hard to delete all those spam posts. Charm and wit will always win me over. Too bad they are still trolly trolls who live under mossy internet bridges.

And that means I still did what I had to do. Bye!

Possessive Punctuation

On Monday of this week, I set out to write a post, but seriously lacked for any good ideas.

I seem to be going through the Mohave Desert of good ideas lately, and it’s killing me. I think I abused The Muse mightily back in June when I did four different entries for the county fair, and she’s pouting now. Seriously pouting.

So I decided to rely on my tried and true Muse busting trick of going to the random word website, laying down the rule that I must use the first word that shows, and then just writing.

The word I got was: apostrophe

Well. It’s Wednesday and I still got nothing to write about the word apostrophe. I’ve been Googling the word trying to come up with good ideas, but nothing really sparks my interest.

I mean, c’mon: “apostrophe…from the Greek apostrophos (prosoidia) (the accent of) turning away”

Um. Ok.

And then the grammar pages discussing how the apostrophe is either used to denote a missing letter, as in can’t, or to denote a possessive, i.e. Karen’s blog.

And a dissertation on how the apostrophe and the single quote are two TOTALLY different things (even though they look exactly alike).


I mean really, random word generator? Apostrophe? If you had to give me a punctuation word, why not something with flair, like Ampersand? Or as mudane as Comma, but at least I could wax on for a thousand words about my own personal, overuse, of, the, comma.

But nooooooo. You had to drop apostrophe on my already massively blocked self.

Damn you aposotrophe for making my already stifled Muse even stiflier!

Tis simply a writer’s dilemma. (<--Huh? Huh? Did you see what I did there?)

Cartoon from What The Duck.

Keeping My Smart Assery To Myself

Today my Swedish boss (who lives in London) called me to discuss the PowerPoint presentation I’d created for him. He gets to present to a VERY big boss tomorrow and wanted to make sure he understood everything I’d written.

Boss Man was going through each slide showing me what changes he’d made and making sure I agreed.

Let’s pick up the conversation from there:
BossMan: “And so on that second to last bullet, about the contract. It’s a four years contract, right?”

Me: “Yup, four year term.”

BossMan: “I noticed on your slide you’d written four year contract. Not four years. It’s correct to say four years contract.”

Me: “In America we say four year contract. Not years.”

BossMan: “Why is that?”

Me: “Because America has bastardized the English language? Is that the correct answer?”

BossMan: “Fair enough.”

Can you tell from this conversation that it is performance review season?

If this conversation had taken place a few weeks from now, I’d make some tacky comment about how a Swede can’t possibly be expected to know English grammar rules if he can’t even pronounce a J correctly.

But not today. Nope, today I’m all sweetness and light.

Plumbing the Depths of the Thesaurus

This week’s Theme Thursday is: soft

Sometimes I see the weekly theme word and think “yeah baby! I know just what to write about.”

Sometimes I go. “meh.”

This week is a meh week.

Soft. What can one say about soft? Pillows, babies, marshmallows, fat ladies, feathers, skin, hair, blah blah blah.

So then I try my bag of tricks, Google the word. Check the dictionary. Check the thesaurus.

Soft. Synonyms: Yielding, squashy (didn’t know that was a word, but it is), spongy, supple, pliable, elastic, malleable, flexible.

Now really? Soft = Flexible?

I don’t think so.

The list goes on: bendable, ductile, limp

What in the sam hell is ductile? Per the dictionary “Malleable enough to be worked, readily shaped, readily influenced.”

That gets us a long, long way from soft. To me soft is a tactile experience not someone susceptible to being pushed around. I guess the main definition of soft has evolved to being too easily influenced.

Not sure I like that.

Soft is one of those words that by saying it you feel it. Soooo sooooft. What you do think of? Your pillow? Your pet? Your favorite broke in pair of jeans?

Yeah. Me too. What I don’t think of is ductile.

Image from T-shirt guru.

The Fish Of The Babbling

About a month ago, much to my dismay, my very valued and crucial employee handling business in the Latin American region offered her resignation. She’d found a job at another company where she could make a lot more money. She’s a great employee and it was a super opportunity for her career.

In her absence, I’m recruiting for the role, but that always takes a very long time. So while I search for a suitable replacement, I’m also doing the job. This means now I get a LOT of emails in both Spanish and Portugese. BabelFish and Google Translate have become my closest work friends.

But you know that old saying “something is lost in translation”?

Yup. Since I have a weird sense of humor, I’m actually enjoying sorting out what these oddball translated phrases actually mean.

Here are a few of the greatest hits I’ve seen over the past two weeks:

“The gentility has requested immediate attention to this request”

Um. The gentility? Really? What is this, an Oscar Wilde novel?

This was translated from Portuguese and I’ve now seen this same usage of “gentility” crop up a lot. It must simply be how the language handles the notion of management.

Which might also explain this one:

“Waiting on response from God before proceeding”

Whoa! God? It might be awhile to get an answer from that guy. I bet he’s way behind on his email. Maybe he has an assistant we can call?

I believe this implies approval from the very top officer of the company. Now that’s an honorific!

Or, it’s better explained by:

“On taking drugs the equipment in this situation?”

Ah. That’s it. My computer is on drugs. Yup. And waiting for God to respond in a genteel way.

We never did actually figure this one out. Someone on my team thinks this is a question about how are you using the equipment…and perhaps that term “using” which can mean taking drugs, got confused in the context.


But when it comes to equipment, there is also this advice:

“To remember when arriving at the visited country, extinguishing and to ignite the equipment”

And also please remember to extinguish fully before reigniting. Because reigniting an already ignited device might equal “ouch”.

Especially if you:

“Reset in the heat of the moment”

Best to wait for the heat to pass before resetting or even reigniting.

And by far, my favorite closing sentiment:

“Thanks so much already”

You’re welcome by now.

Image by Jakub Krechowicz and used royalty free from stock.xchng.

You Do What, Now?

My very truly honestly global job certainly keeps me on my toes from one day to the next, calculating time zones with ease and panache.

The laws that govern each country are different and there are nuances in languages that keep my brain working overtime.

This is never more apparent than in the weekly catch up meetings I have with my boss, who is located in London.

My boss has a sense of humor about to the level of mine, so lately we have this ongoing riff.

It goes something like this:

Boss: “So, what is this, um, let’s see what do they call it…yes, this day of groundhog you people celebrate in the US?”

Me: “What, they don’t have this holiday in the UK?”

Boss: “I don’t think so, what is this all about?”

Me: “So, wait, you’re telling me that in the UK they don’t pull rodents out of the ground in order to determine the extent of winter?”

Boss: “Not as such, no.”

Our conversation usually revolves around some odd thing that “you people do in your country.”

To be fair, I catch the brunt of this. You never know how weird you are until you see your own culture through another’s eyes.

Things like:

Boss: “So I’m going to be in the US the week of March 14th. I understand I’ll be able to participate in what you Americans refer to as St. Patrick’s Day.”

Me: “Oh c’mon, any holiday that involves drinking a lot of beer can’t be so bad.”

Boss: “Well, true.”


Boss: “Did you watch this thing you Americans call the ‘Super Bowl’ this weekend?”

Me: “Yes, I did.”

Boss: “So, did the team you were rooting for win?”

Me: “Well, I wasn’t really rooting for one of the teams, so it didn’t matter.”

Boss: “Oh…so what did you do then? Did you attend a party?

Me: “Yes, I went to a friend’s house. We did what we Americans are fond of doing, we ate a lot.”

Boss: “Your people seem to like that.” (<- my boss attended his first American Thanksgiving meal this year and was horrified by how much food was presented.)

My return vollies tend to be more along the lines of his use of language.

Me: "So if we can crack on, is it possible to crack off?"

Boss: --silence-- "I've never really thought about that."


Me: "So you need to know when you say 'creating an implementation scheme', that the word scheme has a bit of a negative connotation for Americans."

Boss: "How do you mean?"

Me: "Well, setting up a scheme usually involves something illegal or at least questionable."

Boss: "Oh! My. Well we won't use that anymore will we?"


Me: "When you told me to revert on your email, I have no idea what you mean."

Boss: "You mean my question?"

Me: "No, I mean...the word revert means going back to a previous version. I don't understand how I can go back to a previous version of an email you wrote. It makes no sense!"

Boss: --sigh-- "You click reply and answer my question!"

Me: "Oh. I get it. That's a weird use of the word revert."

Or, my personal favorite...

Boss: "So to let you know, the UK office will be on holiday Monday."

Me: "What!? Another holiday?"

Boss: "Yes, this is a Bank Holiday and all will have the day."

Me: "Don’t you get like five weeks vacation, too?"

Boss: "Yes."

Me: "When do you people find any time to work over there! Geez!"

So yeah, US and UK relations continue to involve a lot of sarcasm. Good thing I'm good at that.

Though the best part is when we have to chat about our counterparts in Canada, because that's when we're on the same side. We can both usually find some good reason to pick on the Canadians.

(Aw Canada, ya know I love ya! You're like that pesky yet precocious kid brother who says adorable things like "aboot".)

Photo by Scott Duhamel and found on Flickr.

Listless In San Francisco

In searching for something to entice The Muse to put down her bons bons and get off her settee, I like to search around for pages offering help to flagging bloggers.

Just about every page I visit suggests creating posts with lists.

I see it all over: “list posts are very popular!”

  1. Really? With who?
  2. Perhaps the who doesn’t matter as much as the what
  3. I’m not sure lists are my thing
  4. Maybe on this one I should go against my own grain
  5. And make a list
  6. A list for the listless
  7. (Yes, I went there)
  8. How about a blog post where the contents ARE the list
  9. No well thought out collection of ideas
  10. No useful reference guide
  11. Just random thoughts
  12. listlitized
  13. Which is so not a word but I don’t care
  14. I mean, does it count as a list if it’s not
  15. a clean, well organized list?
  16. I think it does
  17. In fact, I think it makes it better
  18. Maybe people will even want to
  19. read to the end
  20. instead of scanning down the list
  21. Which I am totally guilty of doing
  22. Maybe
  23. I should leave
  24. Some blank list items
  25. Just to make it confusing
  26. Or maybe
  27. Lists
  28. Are just too darn orderly for my disordered mind

Ain’t No Poetry Like Bad Poetry

So I hit up the idea generator today.

And it suggested I write a limerick.

A limerick?



Couldn’t I just take a stab at Haiku?

In fact, here’s a Haiku I wrote during a painful interleague game between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s earlier this season:

Jack Cust at the plate
Hits ball three for three today
SF fans Cust too

See? I can do Haiku! Can’t I just try another like that?

No, the prompt said limerick.

I remember in grade school we had to write limericks for an English assignment. I didn’t like it then either.

Not even writing the naughty limericks.




Here’s my attempt:

There once was a girl from the ‘Burque
People found her to be quite quirky
     To California she fled
     No green chile she did dread
Homemade chile rellenos keep her quite perky

Or how about:

There once was a singer named Buck
His songs make a nice rattle in my truck
     From Bakersfield he hailed
     “Tiger By The Tail” he wailed
That acoustic guitar he sure could pluck

(Betcha thought I was gonna get naughty on that one, huh? It was very difficult to restrain myself.)

All right, I’m on a roll now

From a bag of pinto beans I did remove
A handful of rocks and a piece of dry bean root
     Soak ‘em I did
     Rinsed, boiled and added a lid
Because if not cooked right, dem beans will make you toot

Ok, ok….I’m done.

Somebody stop me before I try to rhyme Nantucket.

That Pesky Spell Check

I was rereading a few of my text messages the other day on my iPhone. I was looking for a bit of information a friend had given me, so I had the chance to read what I’d written.

I was a little bit embarrassed. Oh the violations of Funk and Wagnalls I’ve committed and sent out to the universe.

Since I have a full keyboard to use for texting, I tend to shy away from the internet approved shortened word uses. It’s a point of pride to write in full sentence form.

I don’t know why, it just is.

However…that very aggressive auto correct on the phone does tend to trip me up.

That got me to thinking about how much I rely on spell check and auto correct these days, which is bad. Spell check isn’t perfect. A 100% spell checked document could still have mistakes.


There are a LOT of words that when spelled wrong, are actually still a word. But ya still look kinda silly using the wrong word.

Also, plenty of times, spell check suggests the wrong word entirely.

I see these misused but correctly spelled quite a bit online, in email and of course, on places like Facebook and Twitter.

You can find a few examples here:

10 Common Errors “Spell Check” Won’t Catch

(I’ll ignore the blatant use of unnecessary quotes in that headline)

Yeah, I’ve either seen or made (or both) all of the errors in the article.

There’s a few that get me that aren’t on that list…like:

Rein, meaning how you steer a horse and;

Reign, meaning how you rule a kingdom.

Right, as in I get to have it, and;

Rite, as in I get to dance under the moon about it.

Also troublsome…

To, too and two. I tend to put too many o’s in there at the wrong time. It’s hard to tell the two apart.

And one that makes me bonkers is lose and loose. I see a LOT of posts on support boards about “if I could only loose ten pounds.” It’s a pet peeve.

The article lists through versus threw. However…that’s not where my language and typing skills break down. Nope, I struggle with

Through, as in, I’m past it and;

Thorough, as in I did a complete job.

I even struggled typing that sentence. Gah!

I’ve noticed lately that even publishing houses, once the very model of correct spelling and grammar, are also slacking off in this department. The last four books I’ve read, all recent publications, have had typos, as many as six in one case.

And internet news articles! Ugh!

It seems no one is watching the chicken coop any more on spelling and grammar. Despite trying really hard not to slip, even I’m guilty as charged.

I fret that as our language continues to evolve, misspelling and bad grammar will become appropriate. English teachers of the world, unite!