Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grammar Detective, Shawna Blumenschein

Grammatical and spelling errors in published, so-called professional material are distressingly abundant once a person starts looking for them. Errors appear in everything from newspapers, books, and academic papers to signs, pamphlets, and advertisements. The mistake may be as simple as a missing or misplaced apostrophe, an incorrect contraction, or a word error. Regardless of how small the error is, it presents an unprofessional and sloppy image to everyone who notices it.

In longer works, for example novels and textbooks, such errors are understandable. Computer programs do not have the ability to understand and correct for the rules of grammar and word meaning. As such, it comes down to fallible human editors to ensure a manuscript is flawless before it goes to print. Perfection is hardly a human quality and thus the odd mistake in lengthy documents is unavoidable.

It is the mistakes in short works that are most bothersome. Take, for example, the above photograph of a sign in Southgate mall. It contains a grand total of five words and one distressingly obvious error.

What does the abundance of such simple errors tell us? Have people simply become lazy and dependent on spell-check programs to the point that, if the computer says there are no problems, then it must be right? Or do examples such as Southgate’s sign simply indicate that not enough people are knowledgeable in matters of grammar, spelling, and word meaning? This problem could even be exacerbated by spell-check programs since, as discussed by Brieanne, spell-check removes the need to actually learn from one’s mistakes. Learning from errors is the key to avoiding them in the future. The learning process can be aided by the use of resources designed solely to clarify English’s tricky words.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how effectively grammar is being taught in schools today. I also wonder how effectively we retain grammatical information when we are in elementary or high school.For some people, it seems to be as confusing and abstract as algebra is to others.