Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Greg! The Stop Sign!!

There's a spelling mistake that I've been seeing all over the place lately. It's bothering me almost as much as the rampant apostrophe abuse EVERYWHERE.

Every second person seems to be using 'breaks' instead of 'brakes' for the things that slow down and stop your car or bike. I guess I can see how it might seem appropriate - they 'break' your speed maybe?

The internet is a very efficient vehicle for spreading incorrect spellings. (And, come to think of it, all sorts of incorrect things.) It allows anyone to publish material very easily, without any editing. A great deal of internet content is the equivalent of someone scribbling down a few thoughts, without even checking it over themselves. (Like this blog sometimes) But the result can still look like a reasonably authoritative published document. (Maybe not so much this blog!) So common mistakes look plausible and people who don't have the most confident or consistent spelling learn from reading incorrect examples.

Just one of those necessary evils, I guess. I am the last person you'll hear wanting to get rid of the internet - what would I do when I want to know something but don't want to get off my butt, or make a phone call (ew!), and certainly don't want to get the answer less than instantly?

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