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"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 Example:  (5)
indicates you have 5  more  issues to run.  If  yours is (0) is means this
is your last  issue!" 

    If you would like an example from the corporate world, right click and open in new window here: RightClick then come Back by closing that new window. I'll be adding gems of wisdom in the future. Here is something from an EDITOR. Right Click then close to come back

For Testimonials

    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
    [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 word!"

        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 for stories/articles:

    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 to:

    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 cyberspace.
    The CEO of, 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 room."
    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 sentence structure.
    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"

    Copyright 1976

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