Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Note on Typos, Spelling and Grammar Errors

An EPJ reader comments below:

Hi Bob! I'm a big fan of your blog; I read it pretty much every day. Really great stuff, and certainly one of the best sources out there for news/commentary on world events from a thoroughly Austrian-Libertarian perspective. However, I would like to offer one piece of advice, which I hope is somewhat constructive. I apologize in advance if this comes across as critical or nit-picky Often times, I really want to repost your content to Facebook (the above article for example), because I really want others to read it, who might not have much exposure to this perspective or your blog. But often I hesitate, and then decide not to post to Facebook, because of blatant spelling or grammar errors(usually just typos).

A few comments on this.

First, I learned my spelling and grammar in public schools, so what do you expect? Second, as regular readers know, I really crank out the copy here. I proofread everything and do use spell check, but I usually do this just seconds after writing the post, not the ideal amount of time between initial writing and proofreading. So if you spot any errors, please just leave a note in the comment section and I'll make the correction. Your help is greatly appreciated.


  1. You could probably hire a stay at home mom with an english degree for $10/day to read and edit your posts. I know one who would do it.

    1. I want to hire a couple then to help me do websites! where are they?

  2. EPJ Reader,
    Gee whiz! Get a grip!

    I find this comment "somewhat" destructive, not even remotely constructive.

    You "often hesitate", and finally arrive at the momentous decision NOT to post to Facebook, because of "blatant" errors, though they're usually "just" typos.

    I'm confused.

    You say the errors are "blatant" yet in the same breath minimize them with the description "just typos".

    It sounds like you're confused, too. You compliment the content but decry the fact that it's not good enough for you to re-post. Wow. If it's good enough that you want to send it to others, but you're bothered by associating yourself with content with "just typos" (which mindset opens up a long line of inquiry that I don't have time to go into) instead of bitching about this trivial problem how about this?

    1 - As Robert asked submit a comment with specific information about the error(s). This would be the most helpful course. Not a perfect solution because Robert will probably continue to post occasional errors, and you would have to shoulder the burden of being the grammar police. But, once the post is corrected, you could post to Facebook confident that your own reputation would remain unsullied by association with "blatant" typos.

    2 - Or - just use copy / edit / paste - copy the content, edit the typos, paste to Facebook - and I'm sure you would give credit to EPJ in your Facebook posting - but you could omit the direct link to the oh-so offensive typo-containing content.

    Problem: Both of the above courses of action require continuing work on your part, and you likely feel that using correct spelling / grammar and proofreading is properly the work of the author, not the work of you, the dear reader.

    Unfortunately there's probably no cure for that problem.

    As for me, I can only say that while I have no idea where I first came across EPJ, I almost immediately subscribed and I check its entries in my feedreader at least once daily. I find it to be consistently worthwhile and stimulating. While I too have an appreciation for language and grammar I understand the time constraints within which Robert undoubtedly works.

    To the extent that there have been typos or other errors I would heartily state that they have done nothing to diminish my enjoyment of this site.

  3. dave -

    make the next cup decaf...

  4. I dun got me a publik edumakation two. Me likey to reed yer blog every day, and I never seen no typos!

  5. I've actually grown to love the typos. Gives an air of immediacy to the posts.

    I've gotten all OCD about EPJ. Twenty, thirty views a day. Keep it up, RW!
    Oh, and Thanks!

  6. I'm a product of a public school, we still had latin, german, and french languages courses in my high school but I suspect it ended soon after I graduated in 1977.

    Robert Wenzel's spelling capabilities are well-demonstrated day in and day out, and the minor mistakes he makes are perfectly reasonable.

    It's like dyslexia too, people tend to mis-spell the same words all the time.

    My spelling checkers are often wrong when it comes to the sort of words I use (engineering) and it's often lagging in other technical words we end up using (technical can be financial, medical, scientific, etc)

    Anyway, if you're re-distributing his work and it's a minor correction I am sure he won't mind if you fix it up if it's embarrassing, and if he's accurate about the issue (and he often is) then it's worth the efforts to make sure other people see his information.

    I wish spelling errors were what I have to be worried about.

    "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country." - US Army Signal Corp practice phrase (both code and RTTY) from days when people still loved their country.

    1. NM Patriot! This is long after the fact, but I attended public school in New Mexico too! Through 1984, we were offered three full years of German, French or Spanish, including literature in each (no Latin though).

      Anyway, Robert Wenzel, I am an occasional reader of your blog. I sometimes disagree with your posts' content. Yes, mea culpa, I would stoop to petty quibbling about grammatical errors or English usage mistakes if it served my purpose! Yet I have never found motivation to do so, as you do not provide me with sufficient erroneous material!

      Seriously, I understand and sympathize. I try to be fastidious with my infrequent blog posts, yet find appalling errors after the fact. Given the amount of time I spend, there should be none! You, on the other hand, are very prolific! Do not trouble yourself over this reader letter. The content of your posts is not even slightly diminished by your minor, infrequent typographical errors.

  7. Perhaps you should recruit a couple volunteers who can copyedit posts for you. I'm sure some of the regular commenters here would be capable, trustworthy and willing.

  8. I've noticed the typos as well.

    Considering the sheer volume of incredibly valuable and timely information put out by this guy Wenzel, I'm completely unconcerned about a few grammatical and spelling errors. In fact, I get the sense that I'm reading very authentic, fresh insights from a critical thinker when I see a human error here or there...comments written to share value and not to just look and/or sound pretty.

    When I share Wenzel comments (typically on facebook), I expect there will be nitpickers who may dismiss the comments because they're not grammatically perfect. These are people that are typically NOT low hanging fruit for the message of liberty, and will never see the light on the topics Wenzel covers.

    But the info is so timely...everyone knows the topics are hot off the press or not even in the mainstream circles yet. I can't count the number of times I've been complimented on 'my keen insights'. And then I notice MY friends are sharing Wenzel posts BEFORE I see them.


    Notice how Wenzel's posts are picked up unacknowledged by even other libertarian sites with nary a hat-tip. (Had the same problem myself).

    Not to speak of other folks of other political persuasions.

    Folks, the enemy is us.
    We are rotten people. We pinch, lie, misrepresent, and then we blame our rulers as though we have no share in their failings.

    Sure we do...

  10. Someone actually tried to give you heat for a few harmless typos? My god... they seriously need to get a life...

  11. When you copy someone else's work and post it:

    1. You should give appropriate attribution to the source.
    2. If you wish to replace a word/phrase with a more correct or clearer word/phrase, simply place the replacement word/phrase in brackets [like this]. Similarly, you may leave material out of a sentence by replacing with an ellipsis within brackets [...], or leave out one or more sentences using [....]. You are responsible, in any of these cases, in maintaining or clarifying the original intent, rather than obscuring it.
    3. Alternatively, you can retain the exact original working and place [sic] after any error in spelling and grammar, which declares that the error was in the original, not in your copying process.

    Also, the complainer left out a space before his/her left parenthesis, and the period after "nit-picky". Remove the plank from your own eye before the splinter from that of another. More important, s/he needs to get a life.

  12. Robert has been marvelous about fixing those typos which I have pointed out. A short, polite email works for me. Even my own posts sometimes have a typo or two; this comes of fingers flying faster than the grammar-nazi part of my brain can keep pace.

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  18. If someone every attacks my typos or grammar in a debate, i simply inform them that doing so is a red herring and says nothing about the validity of my argument, so please make a counterargument or cede my point.