Spell check mess

Proof readers were never fool-proof but editors now rely on blind electronics to check their texts.

So just yesterday I was treated to a corpse ‘lying prostate’. Well, it is in the dictionary. While the DT today advises that ‘the border force will compromise of…..’ thereby conflating two errors of syntax – one of which is getting ever more frequent, ‘comprise OF’ for ‘comprise’.

Do you get hot under the collar too?

Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

33 thoughts on “Spell check mess”

  1. I mark thousands of assignments each year. It’s terrifying to see the decline in writing standards. I accept that Septics can’t spell and that their grammar will always be somewhat off. I blame the Huns — so many things that Septics bugger up are a result of the Hunnish influence on the country. I also blame Alex Salmond, but I blame him for everything including the ice on my car’s windscreen and the free coffee dispensary at hospital running out of 12-ounce-cups. However, the quality of writing is dire. Many obviously cannot tell the difference between words that have a are spelt differently but have the same pronunciation. If their spell-check software doesn’t notice the error they will remain blissfully ignorant. Then again, some don’t even try to correct obvious errors that would have been noted if not automatically corrected — “i” instead of “I”, “english” or “spanish” instead of “English” or “Spanish”, etc. Were it not for orders to “be nice” I would write “this is only acceptable if you’re EE Cummings”.

  2. Whilst I notice the execrable examples of the dreaded spellchecker I am afraid the finer points of the English language have always passed me by.
    I see things visually and am far more likely to get excited over obvious screw ups of diagrams or maps. Misrepresentation of data with unsuitable graphic methods is one of my pet peeves. Unsuitable interstices on x or y axes of graphs to minimise trends is one frequently used by the Telegraph.

  3. I agree with jazz. In the 60s only 5% of people went to University. Generally those with IQs above 125 or so. Now they let in 30-40% of the population. Many of these just do not have the raw ability to benefit from that degree of academic learning. The wastage of those who leave by Christmas of the first term is horrible.
    some courses lose about 50% by the end of the first year. Evidently it is now standard practice for universities to anticipate this level of loss and take in far more than they can accommodate in the first year to make sure they have a viable course from the second year on. In my day only one or two dropped out, what about you all?
    Obviously some that stay and get degrees are going to be second rate compared with the past. As are too many of the lecturers.

  4. Can you imagine if gerunds and participles were predatory creatures?
    I bet they hide in the wardrobe at night and leap out to nibble your toes!
    Best to have a dog in the bed!

  5. The “comprising” mistake always annoys me too, Janus, as does the confusion between “partaking” and “taking part”. Announcements that “kindly” ask you to take your seat or whatever, instead of … well, you know. Your comment about “prostate” made me smile, since my Italian sister-in-law, formerly a nurse, has no qualms about telling people about her husband’s “prostrate”.

    It’s not just the Telegraph, Christina, that misuses graphs, which annoys husband very much. The so-called financial journalists also misuse words like “soar” or “plummet”. When you check, you usually find that the rise or the fall is in the order of 0.01%.

    End of complaints for the moment.

  6. I go on about no doubt abstruse linguisitics because thay interest me. (I heard that: Get a life!) just as isobars and nautical knowhow fascinate others. Am I down- hearted? No no no !

  7. No doubt we are all more interested and knowledgeable about areas in which we were educated and /or worked.
    Christopher, one of your diatribes is always more than acceptable!

  8. At my last employer there was a smart lady working as cabin crew. She had a degree in English from Aberdeen University. Before coming to us she had been an English language tutor in the fatherland. She told me that she had either lost her job or found it difficult to get work because the Germans wanted to speak american English rather than english English.

  9. Jazz: officially Germany favours British English as a matter of course. My younger cousins all learnt from British school books, etc. The US Military maintains a large presence in Germany, however, and American pop “culture” still dominates. It’s absolute rubbish, of course, but that’s the way of the world today.

  10. When I was a student at the University of Aberdeen, there were lots of students from England who of course didn’t have Scottish accents when they arrived and didn’t acquire them either.

  11. Dah dah, dah dah! Grammar emergency. I am reading Barchester Towers. Trollope writes “Hiram’s heirs did not appear to interest very many people either in or out of the house”.
    Should I be getting hot under the collar at the use of the last two juxtaposed prepositions?
    Should the word “house” be capitalised?
    Life is confusing for a chΓ p lacking a tertiary education.

  12. Don’t fret, lad. Help is at hand. ‘Out of’ is a prepositional phrase; by itself ‘out’ is an adverb as in ‘go out’. ‘House’ in this context has no capital – that’s in German. 😏

  13. Thanks Janus, but. in this case, I believe the that the house in qustion was parliament.

    I had never heard of a prepositional phrase before. Why is ‘off of’ wrong and ‘out of ‘ acceptable? Very confusing.

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