Whenever I see, hear, say the word “words” immediately my brain starts playing that song by the BeeGees, and I don’t even like the BeeGees…Anyway moving on…
Homophones seem to be the most oft committed grammar error. I’ve been writing about this for years, wondering why people have problems with this. I never found an answer. Homophone errors are the ONE error that jumps out to me – I can be fuzzy on other grammatical matters but not this one.
In this morning print edition of The Washington Post there were two side-by-side articles in the Business Section regarding Eli Lilly dropping the price on insulin – from one article we have –
‘Vile’ instead of vial. Yet in the on-line version of the same article that error has been corrected. Raising two questions in my mind – why the homophone error and which came first – print edition or on-line edition. As a third question – who caught the error/who made the error.
Also – in an article reprinted from the Baltimore Sun, and not in the on-line edition of the Post, there is this awkward sentence “…which he has briefly remarked upon only briefly since…” What? Does that make you twitch as much as it does me?
Lest you say “Grace – get a life!” I must tell you my inner editor has been alive and well for as long as I can remember. For instance – back in the early 1990’s I read the book “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” – twice – all 416 pages. The second time was to make notes of all the errors, which I then typed up and sent to the publisher. That was fairly recent I admit.
I can’t at the moment remember a specific incident from my childhood but I can tell you one funny story from my early 20’s when I worked at the Encyclopedia Americana.
For some reason I can’t recall I had the page proofs for a section that included an article on the novel “Don Quixote”. Also you should know that page proofs are pulled from the permanent print plates. Reading the article I noted an error – “flying pan” instead of “frying pan”. I laughed and brought it to the attention of the production manager. He was not happy. The editor was not happy. The copy editors were not happy. It could not stand, had to be corrected, therefore the whole plate had to be re-done – an expensive proposition. I was jokingly (?) told to never read page proofs again.
And yet – so many errors in what I write – words left out – tho I will swear that’s my computer messing with me. And my almost nonexistent typing skills. But that’s another story.