Ack! It's Everywhere!
Posted 4 November 2008 in Writing by Catriona
Okay, this rant is a clash between two of my current obsessions: Bones and sentence-level punctuation and grammar errors.
I’m not concerned about my obsession with Bones: it’s one of the few shows that we actually watch on telly, rather than waiting for the DVDs to come out, so it’s not much of an obsession. But the show is simultaneously grotesque and frequently hilarious, and I’ve always enjoyed David Boreanaz much more in comic roles.
(Angelus, for example, was much more fun than Angel—not that Angelus was funny. Well, in an incredibly dark sense, he was.)
The obsession with punctuation is not something I’ve kept secret.
I don’t claim for an instant that my writing is perfect at the sentence level. In fact, I know it’s not. Sometimes, when I look back over the past entries on the blog, I have to silently correct embarrassing mistakes that I should have spotted the first time around—especially in the live-blogging, though I tend to leave anything that’s not a factual error, to maintain the authenticity of the process.
But I maintain that it is at least competent.
And for five years or more, I’ve been teaching writing courses that rarely extend beyond the paragraph level, so I’ve become more and more attuned to spotting sentence-level errors—largely, of course, the more common errors.
And today those two obsessions clashed horribly, when I was looking up the details on a forthcoming episode of Bones on Your TV:
The Pain in the Heart
9.30pm – 10.30pm Seven
Monday 10 November 2008
In an episode that will rock the lab to it’s core, a well known serial killer strikes again and when crutial evidence mysteriously goes missing, every Jeffersonian employee becomes a suspect.
The odd thing is that I’ve never noticed this quantity of errors on the site before.
I could let the absence of a hyphen in the compound adjective slide.
But that mistake with “its”? That’s basic—and it’s not that difficult to distinguish between the two uses. Though we all type the wrong one occasionally, it’s not too tricky to correct any errors on a read-through.
And the misspelling of “crucial”? Oh, lord.
In the courses that I teach, we have a draconian attitude towards spelling errors because, as we emphasise each semester, nothing will ruin your credibility with a reader faster than a spelling error.
That’s certainly true here—especially since any computer-based spell checker would have picked that one up.