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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weingarten Reads English It's Last Rites or "Spayed" vs. "Spade"

I urge patience with those who make careless errors. We are all in a hurry. So much to do! So little time! And typos happen, even when we're careful. Having said that, our newspapers and journals are responsible for keeping our standards for English high. A longtime subscriber to my Sharing with Writers newsletter Raff Ellis sent me this link:

Wingarten's "Goodbye cruel words"  gets my vote for being one of the most entertaining essays on upholding standards I've seen in a long time. And I love the writer's voice. It starts with: "The English language, which arose from humble Anglo-Saxon roots to become the lingua franca of 600 million people worldwide and the dominant lexicon of international discourse, is dead. It succumbed last month at the age of 1,617 after a long illness. It is survived by an ignominiously diminished form of itself. " 

Now, you'll have to click on the link to see the rest.

By the way, here is information on Raff Ellis. He wrote Kisses from a Distance and is a speaker and lecturer. And those of you interested in those pesky words that Weingarten mentions like "spayed" vs. "spade" may enjoy my Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success at Learn more about her other authors' aids at, where writers will find lists and other helps on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. Find me tweeting writers' resources at And please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:


Janet Ann Collins said...

That article is both funny and sad.

Karen Cioffi said...

I read this also, very interesting, and sad. I've noticed the decline.

Magdalena Ball said...

A powerful article. I don't worry about common parlance, but formal, often expensive, writing should have a professional proofreader. Once you stop saying things clearly and consistently, you begin to erode meaning. The implications are more serious than just a sloppy look.

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