I spent a few minutes this morning cleaning out the "sent messages" folder in one of my email programs. I still tend to look at such things as taking up physical space, so why save them after they've done -- or not done -- their job?
In the midst of this little exercise, I noted that a message sent to a friend had what I consider a pretty glaring typo in it. Only the occasional inept turn of phrase or badly expressed/inappropriate sentiment bugs me more.
What's worse is that the recipient is the kind of person who will notice. Not that I expect to hear about it; it'll just be another minus score on my Literacy Quotient.
I can explain, teacher:
I was tired when I wrote it;
Since the addition of one letter turned the word I wanted to use into another word, it wasn't caught by my spell checker;
I'm a crappy typist.
Naturally, this person knows I am a fairly decent editor and has indeed made use of my editorial assistance a time or two. Said writing efforts were damn near flawless in my view, so I made very few changes and suggestions.
And now, more evidence that I clearly need an editor 24/7 to watch over my own writing. Yes, even when it comes to things like emails.
There's a good reason no one sees my raw writing, at least before I've had a chance to read it over and smooth out the bumps, and this is it. I don't spend much time refining sentences and stitching up paragraphs. No, I look for the basics: actually typing the words I intended to use, proper English, and all that stuff teachers tried to beat into my head in primary school.
I was actually better about this in the days before spell-checkers and other computer-generated aids to literacy. I would print out everything I wrote before sending it off, attack it line-by-line and word-by-word, penciling in corrections and changes.
Now I just read it on the screen.
I may have to go back to the old ways. I see increasing evidence that even other "professional" writers have lost their edge when it comes to spelling, word usage and grammar, and I have a bad habit of being very critical about such basic flaws.
When society gets to the point where all communication is done via the electronic equivalent of grunts and gestures -- that is to say: strange acronyms, short words badly spelled and click-the-icon instant questions, answers and concepts -- I want to be the last dinosaur standing, the last holdout for proper English.
And I'm losin' it.
5 hours ago