QUIET DESPERATION

Here’s an opportunity to err dirty laundry

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted 8/3/20

Let’s have some fun. See if you can tell me how many typographical and grammatical errors there are in this column. Hint: there are alot. It’s going to really drive my proofreader crazy because …

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QUIET DESPERATION

Here’s an opportunity to err dirty laundry

Posted

Let’s have some fun. See if you can tell me how many typographical and grammatical errors there are in this column.

Hint: there are alot.

It’s going to really drive my proofreader crazy because he’s a perfectionist.

He’s a typochondriac, is what he is.

Looking back; I wish I had taken a creative writing class when I was in college. I majored in restaurant food services because I thought I wanted to open my own dinner, you know?, the kind that serve comfortable food.

My proofreader bales me out every week. I send him an unpolished draft and he makes it look like I know what I am doing.

Between the first word and the last word in a single sentence, a hundred things can go wrong. Theres spelling, tense, participals and punctuation.

Sometimes I am embarassed because I don’t know the basics. But I am always reminded of the fact that Mark Twain couldn’t spell.

He said it didn’t take very much imagination to spell the same word the same way twice.

There’s one word that always stumps me: its “schedule.”

Whomever came up with that should be kept after school.

I dated a girl who spelled “philosophy” with an “f.” And why not? That’s the way its pronounced.

Karen Harper, author of “The Queen’s Governess,” erred when she wrote, “In the weak light of dawn, I tugged on the gown and sleeves I’d discarded like a wonton last night to fall into John’s arms.”

Don’t count that one. Harper meant to write “wanton.”

There have been infamous typos throughout literature and Major Works, including the Bible and Webster’s New International Dictionary.

The thought of proofreading a dictionary shends shivers up my spine.

Amercian English is often different than British English.

For examples: “colour,” “honour,” “labour.”

Language makes me dizzie.

Some people, like motivation speakers, doubletalk because that’s their stock in trade, and some people, remember Norm Crosby?, double talk because they’re comedians.

Professor Irwin Corey used to appear on The Tonight Show and begin a “lecture” that had the sound of plain speaking, and then it would devolve into disorientational nonsense.

He made a living out of making mistakes. Some people think politicians do the same thing.

But seriously.

Have you ever seen a wedding invitation that had the date wrong? Or a location wrong?

I double- and triple-check my columns before I send the off, but invariably something is overlooked.

I try not to split my infinities, but now and then I split one, as I did earlier in this essay.

Did you notice it?

Is it “poinsettia” or “poinsetta”?

Learning where punctuation goes takes a liftline, let me tell you.

I write according to the AP Stylebook, which has its own rules and regulations. It forbids the Oxford comma. I can never remember not to use the Oxford comma.

In the eight years I have been writing this column, I have never used an excalmation mark (of my own.)

F. Scott Fitzgerald was opposed to them and so am I. He said they were like laughing at your own joke.

Do you know anyone who laughs at his own jokes? It’s annoying, isn’t it.

So is reading an ungrammatical column.

How many have you counted so far? I promise next weeks column will look prefect.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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