or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Friday, May 06, 2005


Sephora.com is a website that sells fragrances, makeup, that sort of thing. (I'm only there for the fragrances, because I've always had a keen sense of smell and I love things that smell complex and interesting.) It's a pretty good site, but lord, do they ever need a copy editor! Here's a typically overripe passage from this page:

"Bursting with notes that celebrate fresh, blooming blossoms, Folifloria is a whimsicle fragrance comprised of soft white petals warmed with apricot and amber notes."

Whimsicle! You couldn't make it up.


I have some sympathy for people putting up the letters in those big do-it-yourself signs. As anyone who's ever written on a chalkboard knows, it's difficult to get every one of the details right when you're up close and dealing with letters a foot high. There's a flower shop on the way to work that has such a sign, and in the space of six or seven letters manages two obvious misspellings ("ABSOLUTLY" and "BOUQET"). But spelling errors are one thing: gross grammatical errors something else altogether.

Some fast-food joint I pass on the way to work has just introduced a new line of some food or other, and the do-it-yourself sign announcing the fact reads, "THERE HERE!"

If I ran the world, and it's probably just as well that I don't, every schoolchild learning English would be forced to memorize and understand the sentence "They're putting their things there." I mean, how hard is that?


I write the entries for this blog in a Mac program called TextEdit, which has a spell-check dictionary. Bizarrely enough, it didn't balk at the spelling "BOUQET" when I put it in capital letters (though it did red-pencil "absolutly"), but it did reject "bouqet" in lower-case just now. How odd!

And this gave me an idea for a particularly mean prank one could play on a spelling-impaired colleague. You can teach any spell-checker new words, so it wouldn't be much work to make up a long list of deliberately misspelled words and feed it into the spell-checker on your co-worker's computer, clicking the "Learn this spelling" button for each one. Presto: a spell-checker that no longer checks the spelling. I mean, if you wanted to make someone look like an absolute boob to his or her co-workers and superiors.


Post a Comment

<< Home