Friday, November 7, 2014

Homophones, Typos and Spellcheck Oh My!

This post is geared to anyone who's ever had to write something that someone else is going to read. How many times do you reread something before you turn it in, or hit send? Do you give it a cursory glance or do you scour it for mistakes?

I can only vouch for myself when I say that I obsess over anything I write. Does that mean my manuscripts and emails and texts go error free. HA! Hardly. It just means I'm a Virgo and perfectionist and I hate when I let mistakes get by me.

Take for instance the dreaded homophone.
 They are my downfall because spellcheck won't catch them. If a word is spelled correctly, then it must be right. Wright? (See what I did there?) Wrong. (So I've learned over and over again.) Yes, homophones are only one of my downfalls. I'm guilty of the misplaced modifier or the occasional dangling participle although I like to think I'm getting better at catching them. And what about your average typo. You wouldn't believe the mistake I found in my last book. And this after reading the thing aloud three times before I published it. But it's still better than all the other mistakes that made it through other books. (And those went through critique partners, editors and me - multiple times.) I'm still amazed at the amount of things that can get past several sets of eyes, but it only goes to show that we're all human. We all make mistakes. I'm trying not to beat myself up over it too much. I've been saying the phrase, "Let it go" a lot lately and it has nothing to do with Frozen!

For what it's worth, I will say that reading my manuscripts aloud has definitely helped me catch most of my typos. But still... I agonize over the ones that get by me. (I know, I hear the music gearing up now... "Let it go, let it go...")

Sometimes I blame my homophone problem on my dyslexia. I'm easily confused when it comes to letters (and numbers for that matter). I have tricks to help me remember which meaning goes to which word for certain words, but on occasion when I'm tired, I still blow it and get it wrong because I don't take the time to think it through.

Then there are the typos where you've got two words next to each other and because one of them is spelled with one extra letter, spellcheck won't catch it. Grrr... But I rely on you spellcheck! How can you let me down that way? Then again, I only have myself to blame. (I certainly can't blame other people for missing mistakes if I miss them too. At least I think I can't. Let me know if I'm wrong about that!)

What about you? Do you have a pet peeve when it comes to mistakes or grammar? Let me know so I'm not so alone!


Anne Marie Becker said...

Love the graphic, Dee J - and my most common mistake the past couple years is "write/right." Probably because I "write" so much, so that's now my fallback version. I'm learning to catch more as I go! :)

Elise Warner said...

I find I have to print out everything in order to find typos, lines that don't make sense, a word that doesn't fit, and a sudden flash of a better way to "say" something.

Dee J. said...

Hi Anne Marie,
One of my bigger problems is peek and peak. I always have to stop and think which one is which. And even then I will get it wrong. Not sure why I can't keep them separate in my head. Thanks for stopping in!

Hi Elise,
I used to print everything out. I still should, but I hate all the paper/ink waste. So I read it aloud instead and hope to catch typos that way. It helps, but maybe not as much as printing it out would. Thanks for dropping by!

Janie Emaus said...

I don't have any one pet peeve. I just hate when the second after I hit send, I notice a typo in my email or text or FB post.

Samanthe Beck said...

I'm a pretty forgiving reader when it comes to other people's writing. Little typos and errors don't bug me much. I'm happy to suspend the inner editor and just focus on the author's obvious intent.

I'm much less forgiving with my own work. I try so hard to be PERFECT! Haven't achieved it yet, despite all the proofreading. Why is every error so glaringly obvious the second it becomes impossible to correct? :}

Dee J. said...

Hi Janie,
Oh, yes! I think that's universal. I usually check, but it's the times I don't that I get nailed. All I can do is roll my eyes... Ugh. Thanks for stopping in!

Dee J. said...

Hi Samanthe,
You are so right! I'm a perfectionist too, so I know how you feel. (And I am more forgiving of other's typos because I know I have them too.) It's crazy that our mss go through so many proofreads/readers and still typos get by. It's almost like a conspiracy. LOL. Thanks for dropping in!

Marcelle Dubé said...

Oh, Dee J -- English grammar will be the death of me. What the heck is a 'dangling participle'...? I'm so much better with French grammar.

Kate Willoughby said...

I have far too many pet peeves about grammar to list. Probably the one that's currently bothering me the most is the missing ed/d in "box set," "ice tea," and "whip cream." When speaking, the omission isn't really noticeable, but in grates on me. :)

Dee J. said...

Hi Marcelle,
For a quick explanation of a dangling participle, behold:

Hiking the trail, the birds chirped loudly.

This infers the birds are hiking the trail instead of the person who is actually hiking the trail.

Hiking the trail, I heard the birds chirping loudly - would be correct. And you are not alone. I think English is the death of many of us! LOL. Thanks for popping in!

Hi Kate,
Yeah, I still don't know what's right because I see everything written both ways and not really sure what I hear when people say it out loud. Maybe it's all acceptable? LOL. I can only hope. Thanks for swinging by!

Rita said...

OH! If there is a mistake to make I do it! Sometimes it is very funny.

Dee J. said...

Hi Rita,
Ha. Me too! Yep a good homophone exchange can be a great laugh. Thanks for swinging by!

Cathy Perkins said...

My typing is awful (see how I shifted from atrocious to awful because I had to rely on spellcheck to tell me if I got it right??) so texts and chats can be pretty funny when autocorrect goes wild.
But manuscripts? Novels? I can easily forgive the occasional goof - amazing how something slips past so many editors!