"The difference between the right word and the
almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning
bug"~ Mark Twain
Last Updated: 10/26/03
It is a well established fact that writers/authors cannot proofread
their own typing. I would be the first to admit that, since on many occasions I have
spotted a typo, right after I hit the "Send Key". But, I am very good
at spotting typos on any material I read. I have been sending corrections to writers all
over the Internet perhaps you may have received some from me, in the past.
If you are coming here from my Bugs You Ad, in the copy (that came
to my mailbox) it did not show what was wrong in the example gem. Here is
the way it should have printed:
We have, in practically every ezine I receive, copy which reads
similar to this gem: "The number in parenthesis following your ad
indicates how man issues your ad has left to run. For
indicates you have 5 more issues to run. If yours is (0) is
is your last issue!"
Let me state at the outset, I do not do this for any but the best
motives. It is not meant to be derogatory, since I must confess, in typing this in, I have
already made three typos [but I am being very careful and checking
after each sentence]. For whatever reason, it is not easy to get through a page of typing
without making some mistakes. I offer my services to any writer who wishes to appear
"perfect", even though we realize perfection is very hard to come by.
The best we can hope for is to appear to know exactly what we are
talking about. If we use the wrong word, [affect for effect, for example, or imply for infer, or advise for advice, or principle for principal, or whom for who, or it's for its] and the reader knows we have used the wrong word, we have compromised our "message" almost beyond repair. A small matter, you think? The reader has no way of knowing about your stellar intelligence, and cannot place a lot of confidence in what you pronounce to be fact, if you do not spell correctly or use the proper words.
From an ezine writer, [Bob Osgoodby — (glad to give you a plug, Bob)] we have this typical incorrect word usage. "These are basically "mirror" pages with a different
URL - any hits you receive their came from a specific ad." Does anyone know what word should have been written there?
I offer this to all the writers, who sometimes have problems with the correct spelling of various and sundry words: TOO LATE FOR DAN QUAYLE:Ben Beisel of Hawthorne points out:
If GH can stand for P as in hiccough
If OUGH can stand for O in dough
If PHTH can stand for T as in phthisis
If EIGH can stand for A as in neighbor
If TTE can stand for T as in gazette
If EAU can stand for O as in plateau
Then POTATO can be spelled GHOUGHPHTHEIGHTTEEAU
[Knowing this will not give anyone a "free pass" in their spelling bee, but remember, English language does have a problem in the spelling rules]
This is a poem which was sent to me by a "poet" who wished to become famous, and wanted me to "proof" his
endeavor. He claimed to have spell-checked before submitting it.
Ode To Spell Checker
Eye halve a spelling checker
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marks four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Win eye strike a key oar type a word
and weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My checker tolled me sew.
And A story from the Weekly Witticisms site, proves the necessity
of using the proper word. It goes like this:
Careful what you say:
Fred goes to a doctor and says, "Doc, I want to be castrated."
Doc says, "Look, I don't know what kind of cult you're into or what your motives are,
but I'm not going to do that sort of operation."
Fred: "Doc, I just want to be castrated, and I'm a little embarrassed about talking
about it, but I have $5,000 cash right here. Will you do it?"
Doc says, "Well, OK, I guess I could make this one exception. I don't understand it,
but OK." He puts Fred to sleep, does the trick, and is waiting at the bedside
when Fred wakes up.
"Well, Doc, how'd it go?" Fred asks.
"It went fine, just fine. It's really not too difficult of an operation.
As a matter of fact, $5,000 is a lot to pay for such a simple task and I felt a little
guilty about taking that much. So while I was operating I also noticed that you
had never been circumcised, so I went ahead and did that, too. I think it's
really better for a man to be circumcised, and I hope you don't mind my ....."
"CIRCUMCISED!" yells Fred. "THAT'S the
I researched the web for "costs", and found the lowest
price to be $10.00/M words. If you are interested in references [of prior clients I have
served] please email me, and we can get together on services I provide. Email to me at
by clicking on the address. My email address is also on my homepage, near my picture.
This is a quote from a Writer's resource page, giving the pay scale
RIGHTS: **Normally requests all rights (but will
negotiate). PAYS: $0.10/wd. RT: Six weeks to three months. TIP: "Our
articles have to be authoritative, therefore we tend to work with writers we know we can
rely on as knowledgeable and thorough."
As you can see, my charges (one cent per word) are 10% of the finished product. Having
your work proofed by a knowledgeable and thorough copy-editor, will make quite an
impression on the editors you submit your work to. [Agents charge 10% for less service]
And you will also know up front just how much the charges will be not like the
editors who will charge you by the hour [and expect you to trust them to
give you a full hour of work for an hour of pay]
If you are doing a document that must be submitted to a court, you really want
to be sure that it is correct. We don't want the court to have any reason to ignore our
arguments, because it is not composed correctly.
And here is a message I received in the mail, that clarifies just what I am referring
A new computer virus is spreading throughout the Internet, and it is far
more insidious than last week's Chernobyl menace. Named Strunkenwhite after the authors of
a classic guide to good writing, it returns e-mail messages that have grammatical or
spelling errors. It is deadly accurate in its detection abilities, unlike the dubious
spell checkers that come with word processing programs.
The virus is causing something akin to panic throughout corporate America, which has
become used to the typos, misspellings, missing words and mangled syntax so acceptable in
The CEO of LoseItAll.com, an Internet startup, said the virus has rendered him helpless.
"Each time I tried to send one particular e-mail this morning, I got back this error
message: 'Your dependent clause preceding your independent clause must be set off by
commas, but one must not precede the conjunction.' I threw my laptop across the
A top executive at a telecommunications and long-distance company, 10-10-10-10-10-10-123,
said: "This morning, the same damned e-mail kept coming back to me with a pesky
notation claiming I needed to use a pronoun's possessive case before a gerund. With the
number of e-mails I crank out each day, who has time for proper grammar? Whoever created
this virus should have their programming fingers broken."
A broker at Begg, Barow and Steel said he couldn't return to the "bad, old" days
when he had to send paper memos in proper English. He speculated that the hacker who
created Strunkenwhite was a "disgruntled English major who couldn't make it on a
trading floor. When you're buying and selling on margin, I don't think it's anybody's
business if I write that 'i meetinged through the morning, then cinched the deal on the
cel phone while bareling down the xway.' "
If Strunkenwhite makes e-mailing impossible, it could mean the end to a communication
revolution once hailed as a significant timesaver. A study of 1,254 office workers in
Leonia, N.J., found that e-mail increased employees' productivity by 1.8 hours a day
because they took less time to formulate their thoughts. (The same study also found that
they lost 2.2 hours of productivity because they were e-mailing so many jokes to their
spouses, parents and stockbrokers.)
Strunkenwhite is particularly difficult to detect because it doesn't come as an e-mail
attachment (which requires the recipient to open it before it becomes active). Instead, it
is disguised within the text of an e-mail entitled "Congratulations on your pay
raise." The message asks the recipient to "click here to find out about how your
raise effects your pension." The use of "effects" rather than the
grammatically correct "affects" appears to be an inside joke from
Strunkenwhite's mischievous creator.
The virus also has left government e-mail systems in disarray. Officials at the Office of
Management and Budget can no longer transmit electronic versions of federal regulations
because their highly technical language seems to run afoul of Strunkenwhite's dictum that
"vigorous writing is concise." The White House speechwriting office reported
that it had received the same message, along with a caution to avoid phrases such as
"the truth is .... " and "in fact ...."
Home computer users also are reporting snafus, although an e-mailer who used the word
"snafu" said she had come to regret it.
The virus can have an even more devastating impact if it infects an entire network. A
cable news operation was forced to shut down its computer system for several hours when it
discovered that Strunkenwhite had somehow infiltrated its TelePrompTer software, delaying
newscasts and leaving news anchors nearly tongue-tied as they wrestled with proper
There is concern among law enforcement officials that Strunkenwhite is a harbinger of the
increasingly sophisticated methods hackers are using to exploit the vulnerability of
business's reliance on computers. "This is one of the most complex and invasive
examples of computer code we have ever encountered. We just can't imagine what kind of
devious mind would want to tamper with e-mails to create this burden on
communications," said an FBI agent who insisted on speaking via the telephone out of
concern that trying to e-mail his comments could leave him tied up for hours.
Meanwhile, bookstores and online booksellers reported a surge in orders for Strunk &
White's "The Elements of Style."
"We Ourselves the Better Serve, by Serving Others Best"