December 8, 2008

Words Matter

Twenty six-letters. That’s it. That’s all the English alphabet offers. Yet, look at what’s possible. The combining, creating and reorganizing of words is a never-ending gift.

Obviously since I write, I love words. They offer sport and respite and exploration. I noodle over crossword puzzles. I read constantly—and dream of the perfect afternoon spent curled up by a fire with a good book. I edit and proofread others’ work to help their words sparkle. And I write—sometimes because I have to, but mostly because I simply must.

Even so, I have much to learn about writing.

Whether you view writing as a dreaded task or joyful jaunt, sooner or later we all have to write. And when we do, how we write says something about us. People notice our words—especially when they’re incorrect. Like it or not, typos, misspelling, and improper usage make us look dumb.

It’s one thing to mess up on a note to a friend—who knows how brilliant you really are. It’s another to botch a letter to a prospective employer, an email to your distribution list, a report to your boss or a post to the entire blogosphere.

The electronic age has us communicating faster and faster. We hit “send” without a moment’s pause to proofread. I shudder to think of the number of emails I’ve sent with glaring mistakes. Or blogs posted with accidental errors. Ugh!

Even if we choose immediacy over accuracy, or have forgotten—or perhaps never quite figured out—those wonderful rules of spelling, grammar and usage, contrary to popular opinion, correct writing has NOT gone the way of the typewriter or corded telephone. It’s as relevant and in-fashion as ever.

That’s why my heart did a happy dance when I happened upon this article: The Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words. Even though the site is geared toward marketers, it provides even the most talented writer an “aha” moment or two. Plus, the author has a great sense of humor. See, learning grammar can be fun!

Do yourself (and your future readers) a favor and check out this website. It sure showed me how much further I have to go with my learning…or is it “farther?”

“Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for
the days to come it may be an everlasting witness.” (Isaiah 30:8)

7 comments:

Sassy Granny ... said...

Great resource! Thank you.

I'm with you: I love words. I've facetiously commented on many occasions about how deep is my affection and affinity for Merriam Webster. Sounds like you're a fellow fan.

My heart's happy dancin' with ya'!

Kathleen

Cheryl Barker said...

Thanks for sharing this site, Kelli. I spotted 3 or 4 things that were news to me :)

Peggy said...

Hi Kelli Girl......
Just me, and I feel like you wrote this blog just to make me feel better, and I do.
I am the one who posts a comment, and then hits..SEND in a hurry.
Thank you. I'll try to stop and check before I send.
Thanks for the site, I am now able to check on things that have been making me crazy (with spelling and grammer).
Have a great week, and keep on writing, just love your blog!!!!
Blessings and Love...Peggy

Dan said...

What timing...as I pick up my local newspaper sports page this morning and read a columnist, who writes that something a high school athletic director said was "besides the point." Besides? Really? This kind of thing kills me - I thought newspapers had paid editors and proofreaders and stuff. This is what kids will read and say, "Hey, they said it that way in the paper - so, it should be fine in my book report." Sheesh!!

Sue J. said...

I was extremely fortunate to work with an editor who constantly pointed out this kind of stuff; and she really wanted me to write well, so she had a lot of red ink for me!

My daughter is finding typos in the books and magazine articles she reads, which is great for her and not so great for the writers and editors of what she's reading!

Words are important, and definitely fun to explore. Trying to slow down and actually proofread comments before they are sent is hard--kind of like talking! HA!

Scott B said...

How can a blog be entitled "The Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misued Words", and not include the word inconceivable? For anybody that has seen "The Princess Bride" (and I highly recommend it), that in itself is "inconceivable"!

Scott

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

OK...now I'm scared. Guilty as charged. I'll give it a look.

And that baby project? Oh my. With 1000's of sleepless nights under my belt, I still shudder at the thought a baby's night cry. Not sure how I feel about the project, but I am sure how I feel about nursing the needs of others at 2:00 AM.

peace~elaine