Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Pedant Awakes

Some are born pedants, some achieve pedantry, and some have pedantry thrust upon 'em.

I'm in the first category. I can't help it: malapropisms LEAP to my eyes, raise my blood pressure, make me feel PAIN. I've long mused that I should start a blog to vent about these painful attacks against my sanity -- the it's/its'/its horrors, the there/they're ones, "reign in" to mean "rein in", "baited breath" for "bated breath".... and so on, and so forth... venting would lessen the pain a little bit, maybe lower the ol' blood pressure a tad, too. But, round tuits tend to be in short supply.

Today's the day the Pedant awakes from his slumbers and SHOUTS -- "I'M MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE". Watch out -- the Pedant awakes, the Pedant is coming!

Google Reader "share with friends" is a delightful little touch... and today my wife "shared" a generally excellent post by Garr at Presentation Zen, so of course I read that... I enjoy Garr's blog and his excellent book, and anything my wife thinks is worth sharing deserves attention.

Midway through... "Fast/slow, loud/quite" -- OUCH. I take a deep breath or three -- come on, that's no malapropism, it's a perfectly normal typo, swapping the final E and T... they can happen to anybody, they happen to me, too. Calm down. Resume reading. But, towards the end... "his son Michael Reagan eluded to today". AAAARGH!!! I stormed upstairs to my wife, shouting, DEMANDING to know WHY, OH WHY, she would ever share a post using "eluded" to mean "alluded" -- it's not as if my life insurance was juicy enough to make her WANT to cause me to have a heart attack, after all... so what WAS her motivation?!

Turns out... she didn't even notice. When the general disrespect and spite for proper usage has become SO bad to numb even Anna -- whom I love, among innumerable other reasons, for being quite a match for me as a pedant and copy-writer supreme -- when SHE fails to notice something as horrible as THAT, well... then it's HIGH TIME for the Pedant to Awake, and Stride the Blogosphere ranting and venting and whining.

So *WATCH OUT* from now on, especially if you write generally interesting and worthwhile prose, whether you actually MEAN "insure" or "ensure" (or maybe "assure"...?!), whether you're REALLY trying to speak about the "File Transfer Protocol protocol" ("FTP protocol" occurs hundreds of thousands of times on the web...) or the "North-Atlantic Treaty Organization organization" ("NATO organization" has over ten thousands hits), whether you mean "except" or "expect", and so forth... if you slip, the horrible price to pay just MIGHT be... *a mention on this blog*!!!


David Goodger said...

Midway through your article (right after "Midway through..." in fact), the text disappears. The text color is set to the same (or very similar) to the background color.

Alex said...

Yep, thanks David -- blogger was apparently generating strange HTML span tags when I copied-and-pasted text... I fixed that now (and hopefully made the style more readable in general, too).

Alessandro said...

Is pedantry strictly related to programming?

Alex said...

Yep, o homonym, I do think there's a connection -- good programming (or design of electronic circuits, for that matter) requires a pedant's loving, intense focus on detail...

Alessandro said...

My "favorite" sloppiness is related to diacritics: in a lot of Italian texts we find "à, è, ì, ò, ù" but instead of the expected "È" we have the sloppy "E'".
This problem affects both soft computer files and hard printed matter.