A WRITER'S WIT
...your first successful piece of writing is your best piece of writing—until you finally out achieve it with another piece of writing, terrifically new and phenomenally well done.
Born February 22, 1944
Dictionary of Errors--Conclusion
How does one know whether an adjective is regular or irregular? you might ask. One’s ear (unless it has been pounded into veal), that’s how! Would one say, “The sky is beautifuler today than it was yesterday?” Of course not. One’s ear tells you that beautiful is irregular, requires the word more to form the comparative and most to form the superlative form. The sky is more beautiful than it was yesterday. By the same dull token, one should hear that breezy is a regular adjective; merely drop the “y” and add “ier.” Tomorrow, winds will be breezier than they were today. The sky is brighter than yesterday. So simple a child could do it. And therein lies the problem.
Public school teachers are no longer teaching these inviolate rules. Why? Because they themselves were not properly taught. Today’s youngish teachers attended elementary school in the nineties—during our school-of-what’s-happening-today period (recall the cooperative learning debacle, open education, whole language, harrumph). I charge you with journeying to a used book store and locating an old (but never outdated) copy of the Great Grammar Book of Inviolate Rules and learn them by heart, yes, by rote memory, if the nation is to avoid a catastrophe.
Printer, Printer, Printer. Whenever I find a typographical or spelling error (sometimes both) in a published work, I mark it, make a photocopy, and send it to the publisher. I feel that it is my duty. Perhaps in the second printing (if an author is lucky), the publisher will get it right. In any case it makes me feel better, because I’ve made a contribution to the language I must strive to defend and protect at all costs.
The problem has gotten out of hand, not only in the arena of the subliminal error, but now (as they always have) the ad agencies have made misspelling a career, something fun, like crossword puzzles (think how much fun those would be if the words weren’t spelled correctly). Thanx is an atrocious example. Thanx for the memories. Many Thanx. Thanx Be To God. Pleez. And God, don’t get me started on the Internet. GoDaddy for an employment agency? Wix for a Web site company? Google for a search engine? How can one take any of these things seriously? Wikipedia? Expedia? Puh.
I believe here is still hope for the human race, but we must act quickly.
All my best,
Porter E. Cresswell
TUESDAY: MY BOOK WORLD