It's Sea S-H-E-P-H-E-R-D February 15, 2012 2:55 PM   Subscribe

IANA copyeditor, but IAY anal retentive freak.

As in one who herds sea sheep. Not Shepard (over and over and over), Sheperd, Sheppard, or Shephard. (Oddly, not "Shepperd".)
I try to remember that spelling is a convention, not a law, and that my fussiness is my own problem. But there are so many ways of spelling it wrong in that thread, and people are being so harsh on each other anyway, that I cracked.
Also I think all the wrong spellings should be included as tags, since "shepherd" is really hard to spell. And while I've got you, should the period after "Shepperd" have gone inside the quotation marks?
posted by gingerest to MetaFilter-Related at 2:55 PM (158 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Do you feel better now?
posted by crunchland at 2:56 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Too late now.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:57 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


CP Style or Chicago Manual of Style?
posted by KokuRyu at 2:57 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


iregardless, that was still a pretty good post, no need to loose you're head over it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:00 PM on February 15, 2012 [61 favorites]


Chicago Manual of Pizza
posted by mintcake! at 3:00 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Animal Style.
posted by griphus at 3:01 PM on February 15, 2012


iregardless, that was still a pretty good post, no need to loose you're head over it.

You did that on porpoise!
posted by griphus at 3:02 PM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I agree. It would be nice if we could somehow fix, perhaps edit, the mistakes. Any ideas? Anyone?
posted by P.o.B. at 3:02 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


iregardless, that was still a pretty good post, no need to loose you're head over it.

Nrghhhh *twitch*

(Irregardless is a perfectly fine word though.)
posted by kmz at 3:03 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


iregardless, that was still a pretty good post, no need to loose you're head over it.

Solid effort, but points off for the missed opportunity to use "its" in place of "that was". I give it a B+.

(Irregardless is a perfectly fine word though.)

Opinions vary.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:07 PM on February 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I recall there was a Greasemonkey script that changed all text on the page to British English (including punctuation).
posted by KokuRyu at 3:07 PM on February 15, 2012


Ah, some people need to mined there own business. Their's no need four a tax on spelling. That's just the brakes.

(Jesus that was hard to type)
posted by pjern at 3:08 PM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


*paints himself blue, charges into melee to fight against self-editing*
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:08 PM on February 15, 2012


Everyone needs to take a deep breathe.
posted by scody at 3:09 PM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


KokuRyu: "I recall there was a Greasemonkey script that changed all text on the page to British English (including punctuation)."

IfIDoThisWillYouPleaseShutUp

posted by dg at 3:11 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I recall there was a Greasemonkey script that changed all text on the page to British English (including punctuation).

Was this the same script that changed all the dating AskMe questions to a photo of a butler silently staring out a window?
posted by griphus at 3:11 PM on February 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


Opinions vary.

It's an odd feeling to think that will be the most popular thing I ever produced, and by produced I mean spurred-on others to create a crapfest over something I said.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:12 PM on February 15, 2012


>"I recall there was a Greasemonkey script that changed all text on the page to British English (including punctuation)."

IfIDoThisWillYouPleaseShutUp


Hah! I had no idea.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:13 PM on February 15, 2012


I think I need to get out of this thread. I'm starting to feel physical pain.
posted by kmz at 3:14 PM on February 15, 2012


Actually, one thing I've noticed over the past couple of years is an increasing number of spelling mistakes, or just plain gibberish that have been entered as comments, presumably because more and more people are accessing MetaFilter, and interacting on the site, via mobile devices with their crappy little keyboards.

What's really interesting is how the community tends to tolerate this sort of thing. Other users tend to ignore the typos and just focus on the meaning on the comment.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:15 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Irregardless is a perfectly fine word though.)

Cromulent, even.
posted by inigo2 at 3:16 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was going to make a meta about the increasing use of products that include autocorrect function and how it is an actual solid reason we should have an edit function, but I moved on. Kinda.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:18 PM on February 15, 2012


I was just skimming along and hoped for a brief second this might be a Mass Effect thing, but no.

Sadness.
posted by rewil at 3:19 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


shplurrk .. ?
posted by not_on_display at 3:20 PM on February 15, 2012


gingerest: “And while I've got you, should the period after ‘Shepperd’ have gone inside the quotation marks?”

That's kind of begging the question, isn't it?
posted by koeselitz at 3:21 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Have you ever had a respondent to your email go in to the original text and edit in grocers' apostrophes in your plural words?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:22 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I continue to blame any alleged incoherence on this touch keypad and not my inability to see my own mistakes.
posted by The Whelk at 3:22 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sent from my TRS-80.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:23 PM on February 15, 2012


> Sent from my TRS-80.

No way, man. Your lower case y extends suspiciously below the line.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:25 PM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


IfIDoThisWillYouPleaseShutUp

Tee hee, I love that it replaces 'jessamyn' with 'Mom'.

I wish I were clever enough to make a Greasemonkey script that replaces school years - 7th Grade, Year 11, Junior High, Key Stage 5, &c. - with approximate ages (or good old fashioned Lower Sixth type stuff).
posted by jack_mo at 3:27 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I blame my failings on my inability to not be inebriated. Or would that be an ability?
posted by P.o.B. at 3:27 PM on February 15, 2012


I always see lots and lots of misspellings on MeFi. Hoards of them.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:28 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your lower case y extends suspiciously below the line.

Why, thank you! Thank you very much!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:29 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hoards of them.

How dare you!? I don't charge!
posted by P.o.B. at 3:29 PM on February 15, 2012


Nice tags.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:32 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was just skimming along and hoped for a brief second this might be a Mass Effect thing, but no.

20 days!!!

posted by kmz at 3:35 PM on February 15, 2012


Lepherd.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:36 PM on February 15, 2012


As a Def Sheppard, I take offense at your demands that everyone conform to your particular point of view.
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:37 PM on February 15, 2012


You know, we could solve this if we just called shepherds "David Lee Roths" from now on.
posted by argonauta at 3:39 PM on February 15, 2012


Former editor. I came here to tell you all to forgive yourselves and get on with your days.

When I was all paid up with the top secret press guild I was entitled to grant one dispensation a day. Now that I'm not, I think I'm down to one a month as a way to relieve the unpleasant sense of pressure uncredentialed pedants bring with them without risking mass approval of egregious language mishaps. The guild may overrule me and say that I can only grant my one monthly dispensation for a single offense and not an entire thread, so you may want to check back in at this post now and then to see if I have any updates on that matter.

Otherwise, have a nice day!
posted by mph at 3:39 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, we could solve this if we just called shepherds "David Lee Roths" from now on.

In the spirit of this thread shouldn't that be "Davids Lee Roth?"
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:43 PM on February 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


I am saying something now just to prove I didn't start a MeTa and then run away. Also, yes, crunchland, I do feel better.
posted by gingerest at 3:45 PM on February 15, 2012


You were killed by a David Lee Rothe, while helpless.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:46 PM on February 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


"Actually, one thing I've noticed over the past couple of years is an increasing number of spelling mistakes, or just plain gibberish that have been entered as comments, presumably because more and more people are accessing MetaFilter, and interacting on the site, via mobile devices with their crappy little keyboards.

What's really interesting is how the community tends to tolerate this sort of thing. Other users tend to ignore the typos and just focus on the meaning on the comment."


Yeah, that actually is really pretty interesting. I, too, have noticed since my return cupertinos that were rare four years ago. I've not noticed gibberish typos, so much. But, yeah, they usually go unremarked.

I also find it interesting that quite a few of us are descriptivists but also seem to strongly support the community ethos of prestige English usage conventions. Personally, I don't find this inconsistent in my own case, because my complaints against prescriptivism have less to do with the class issues than they do with the stupidity and ignorance issues. LH, in contrast, is notably exercised against prescriptivism on a classism basis, so I've always found it interesting that he's an editor and, of course, routinely uses prestige English.

Anyway, our ethos of prestige English here is a social identity marker. A good one, in my opinion. It has a very strong effect of encouraging mefites to self-select for participation in this community on the basis of some shared values and experiences. I don't think it's elitist, but it is exclusive. But then, all healthy communities are exclusive in some way or another. One good test of whether this ethos has become its own justification or, rather, continues to serve a greater purpose, is whether deviance from it is tolerated when there is, nevertheless, conformance to the community's values. One example is the toleration of cupertinos.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:49 PM on February 15, 2012


whatevr u get what i meaan6
posted by The Whelk at 3:51 PM on February 15, 2012


Another odd thought is to see structure, even if it is perfectly well understood, is sometimes prized over the content and quality of comments that amount to flatulence.

On preview: exhibit A & B
posted by P.o.B. at 3:52 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also exhibit P & U!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:56 PM on February 15, 2012


In the spirit of this thread shouldn't that be "Davids Lee Roth?"

Let's see what the Jameses Earl Jones have to say about that.
posted by argonauta at 3:56 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


My Mass Effect 2 character was called Leppard Shepherd. I was going to go for German Shepherd, but that felt a little too third-reichy.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:56 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now L-MEN-O feel left out!
posted by P.o.B. at 3:57 PM on February 15, 2012


The one that broke my brain was "Whit's end" in an AskMe the other day. Unless the person in question was named Whit and this was a pun, I was all o_O .

Honestly, I think that typing from phones and tablets is a big part of the problem. I know that I have made a kajillion more mistakes since I started using the iPad.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:00 PM on February 15, 2012


"In the spirit of this thread shouldn't that be 'Davids Lee Roth?'"

Close. As Roth in his case is probably a locale-based-surname, it would make sense to not pluralize it. But while I'm not comfortable pluralizing Lee, that does seem to be what you're aiming for here: David Lees Roth. That is, multiple "David Lees" of Roth.

But that's just silly. David Lee Roths is fine, as you know. Attorney Generals should also be fine, but it's effective as a shibboleth, I guess.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:01 PM on February 15, 2012


Obligatory Mitchell & Webb
posted by vidur at 4:02 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Exhibit fuckin-A.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:02 PM on February 15, 2012


Ah yes, I remember the days of croquet and cucumber sandwiches at Whit's End, watching the wild Davids Lee Roths romp in the early morning mist.
posted by The Whelk at 4:02 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hope you're all happy that I dumped A. Couldn't take the smelly junk.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:05 PM on February 15, 2012


Actually, one thing I've noticed over the past couple of years is an increasing number of spelling mistakes, or just plain gibberish that have been entered as comments, presumably because more and more people are accessing MetaFilter, and interacting on the site, via mobile devices with their crappy little keyboards.

It's an interesting thing, yeah. I have the same gut impression.

I'll note that anyone who feels like traversing the gap from gut feeling to analysis on this could actually have a go of it using the Metafilter Corpus frequency tables.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:06 PM on February 15, 2012


Tee hee, I love that it replaces 'jessamyn' with 'Mom'.

Shouldn't it be 'Mum'?
posted by zamboni at 4:07 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


i will not be downloading that greasemonkey script anytime soon
posted by not_on_display at 4:09 PM on February 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Whoppers Jr.
posted by griphus at 4:13 PM on February 15, 2012


I was just skimming along and hoped for a brief second this might be a Mass Effect thing, but no.

- Wrecks.
- Shepperd.
- Reks.
- Sheppard.
- Wreks.
- Sheperd.
- Recs.
- Shepherd.

etc.?
posted by juv3nal at 4:14 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite post on the Citadel.
posted by Justinian at 4:14 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Schäpård
posted by Namlit at 4:25 PM on February 15, 2012


iregardless, that was still a pretty good post

you mean "a pretty *well* post"
posted by Hoopo at 4:34 PM on February 15, 2012


IfIDoThisWillYouPleaseShutUp

Woo hoo! Favourites!
posted by futureisunwritten at 4:39 PM on February 15, 2012


Everyone needs a huge.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:39 PM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's Sea S-H-E-P-H-E-R-D ... Not Shepard (over and over and over), Sheperd, Sheppard, or Shephard.

Deal With It
posted by banshee at 4:40 PM on February 15, 2012


Alan Shepard was the first American in space, blasting off a mere three weeks after Yuri Gargarin in May of 1961. He could have been the first person into space, but NASA was being really cautious at the time and kept postponing the flight to do more tests.

After that first flight, Shepard was scheduled to end the Mercury program with a three day flight in '63, but it got canceled. Then, as senior astronaut, he was assigned to be the commander of the first Gemini mission in '65, but he started getting sick. Doctors discovered he had Ménière's disease, which disqualified him from going on another flight or being a pilot. So he became Deke Slayton's deputy in the astronaut office, helping to select crews and overseeing their training.

When an experimental surgery in '68 fixed his condition, he was requalified to be an astronaut and promptly quit being Slayton's deputy so he could get back in spaceflight rotation. His last act as deputy was to recommend himself as commander of the next available Apollo mission. Slayton ok'd that recommendation and Shepard, with all of 15 minutes of spaceflight experience from his flight in '61 and zero time serving on a backup crew before being put on a prime crew, was named Commander of Apollo 13.

However, administrators above Slayton vetoed Shepard as commander, saying the latter needed more training time. So the crew assigned to Apollo 14 was swapped with Shepard's crew and launched into space on April 11, 1970 at 1:13pm EST. Two days later, on April 13, the mission started having those famous problems.

9 months later, on Apollo 14, Alan Shepard walked on the moon at the landing site intended for Apollo 13.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:54 PM on February 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


I just noticed this and wanted to correct a minor point: I hold two bachelor's degrees, two graduate degrees, and a professional license. I am an extensively credentialed pedant, and indeed I am even a professional writer of non-fiction. What I ain't is a copy editor.

Meta-pedantry in a pedant's MeTa, people. Fall down in awe. It's fussbudgets all the way down.
posted by gingerest at 4:58 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]




This is an awesome photo of Mr. Shepard.

This not a photo of Mr. Shepard, but it is hilarious and NSFW.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:03 PM on February 15, 2012


Deal With It

I think we can deal with this more effectively.

ALL RIGHT EVERYONE *clapclapclap* GATHER ROUND.

BRING IT IN, GRAB A KNEE.

All right, listen up. There's a lot of mistakes happening around here. I don't like it, you don't like it, no one likes it. We need to start doing better. I don't want to get down on you here, but this is just plain idiocy. It's idiotic to make these mistakes, and we need to change that. Pronto! Now, I can't help out with making you smarter, but I can sure as hell make it so you remember to look at the screen when you type words into it. Starting tomorrow, we do a lap around the track for every mistake that's made. Everyone. HEY, I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ANY WHINING. Ya' all need to cowboy up and stop with these bullshit mistakes. Now let's get back out there and DO IT RIGHT!
posted by P.o.B. at 5:03 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


GRAB A KNEE

WHOSE?
posted by yoink at 5:09 PM on February 15, 2012


I am an extensively credentialed pedant ...

Secret Guild Credentials or it didn't happen.
posted by mph at 5:10 PM on February 15, 2012


GRAB A KNEE

WHOSE?


There's bound to be one somewhere around this joint.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:12 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's bound to be one somewhere around this joint.

And if you're not into bondage, it's okay. There is no established normative point for sexuality.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:15 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought the established normative point of sexuality was "Can you imagine June Cleaver doing it?"
posted by The Whelk at 5:20 PM on February 15, 2012


I can't stop imagining it.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:22 PM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Leave it to Beaver.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:22 PM on February 15, 2012


Anyone who calls their child "Beaver Cleaver" is clearly far beyond the normative point of sexuality.
posted by yoink at 5:31 PM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


He's named Theodore.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:38 PM on February 15, 2012


And now let's give a warm welcome to: THE BEAVER CLEAVERS
posted by P.o.B. at 5:42 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


This callout is awful and the person who made it should feel shame. Anything that makes lurking pedants think "Hey, it's okay to be annoyingly pedantic!" is bad. The next time you feel the need to correct spelling mistakes, do it on another website.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:44 PM on February 15, 2012


I have the same gut impression.

I think we fix the more obvious typos [if people bring them to our attention] and then it makes the phone-induced gobbletygook that much more obvious because there's very little in-between.

Basically though our standard mod position is: either have typos bother you less or get bothered privately. Please. Thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:46 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Today's a special day for me, and I just wanted to share with the group a little - it just so happens that this is the 1,000th Meta callout in a row that I haven't given a shit about. YES WE CAN.
posted by facetious at 5:48 PM on February 15, 2012


Bothered... privately?
posted by P.o.B. at 5:49 PM on February 15, 2012


He's named Theodore.

Little known fact: his full given name is "Theodore Oh-What-An-Enormous-Cock-I've-Got Cleaver." I believe that was revealed in Season 2.

The name, in an odd twist, turned out to have been that of a favorite Great Aunt.
posted by yoink at 5:49 PM on February 15, 2012


Wait. So, the Chicago Manual of Style is not a political playbook? I'm so confused.
posted by The World Famous at 5:49 PM on February 15, 2012


Of the New Hampshire Oh-What-An-Enormous-Cock-I've-Got Cleavers?
posted by The Whelk at 5:52 PM on February 15, 2012


So, the Chicago Manual of Style is not a political playbook?

No, you're thinking of Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radical Construction Grammar."
posted by yoink at 5:53 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


As much as I like Strunk & White, I think their earlier albums are the strongest.
posted by The World Famous at 5:58 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sounds like more dirty Chicago-style pragmatics.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 6:04 PM on February 15, 2012


"This callout is awful and the person who made it should feel shame. Anything that makes lurking pedants think 'Hey, it's okay to be annoyingly pedantic!' is bad. The next time you feel the need to correct spelling mistakes, do it on another website."

I didn't really interpret this post as a "callout". It seemed more good-natured, if perhaps ill-advised. Your comment, though, couldn't be characterized as "good-natured".
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:09 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


GRAB A KNEE

that's not a knee
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:14 PM on February 15, 2012


jack_mo: "IfIDoThisWillYouPleaseShutUp

I wish I were clever enough to make a Greasemonkey script that replaces school years - 7th Grade, Year 11, Junior High, Key Stage 5, &c. - with approximate ages (or good old fashioned Lower Sixth type stuff).
"

It is trivially easy to edit that script to make any substitutions you want. If I can do it, a blind baboon with no arms could do it. That's how I gave jessamyn back a (textual version of) her star.
posted by dg at 6:21 PM on February 15, 2012


As much as I like Strunk & White, I think their earlier albums are the strongest.

Yeah, famous interpersonal tension notwithstanding, they were a better group when it was still Strunk, White & Crosby.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:10 PM on February 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Almost ... Nearly ... ♩Considered cutting my hair, but though I ultimately decided against it. ♫
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:15 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Strunk & Funk & Wagnalls & White & Bruford & Howe
posted by mintcake! at 7:20 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


E.B White's keyboard solos were legendary. Like 1000 words per minute at least.
posted by The World Famous at 7:35 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


This makes me feel only slightly better that I was eliminated from the state spelling bee, in sixth grade, because I misspelled "shepherd." We had family friends named Sheppard. Even though I KNEW how shepherd was spelled, and had put together the shep/sheep herd, I still spelled it sheppard when under pressure. Oh, the horrid humiliation. It was only the third round! I could spell antidisestablishmentarianism, ffs, and I lost on SHEPHERD.

Sorry. Yes. Carry on.
posted by routergirl at 7:38 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but without Strunk backing him up on the theremin, White would not have gotten anywhere.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:38 PM on February 15, 2012


I could spell antidisestablishmentarianism, ffs, and I lost on SHEPHERD.

I washed out on psychology.

Guess what my mom does for a living.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:53 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Best. Callout. Ever.
posted by Dasein at 7:57 PM on February 15, 2012


Say what you like about Crosby, Stills, Strunk & White, I still think Dirty Chicago and The Pragmatics had more soul.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:57 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wrex.

Shepard.

posted by running order squabble fest at 8:04 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some damn dinosaur name got me out of the statewide spelling bee in high school. Don't even remember which one.

I'll never misspell ptomaine, though. after missing that during the school competition. None of us competing had ever even heard the word before--we just all stood there gaping like idiots.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 8:23 PM on February 15, 2012


I got myself nixed from the very first round of in-school qualifiers in our little elementary school library lineup by letting my tongue run ahead of me and saying "j" instead of "g" when I was given "engine".

I was really bummed about this and taken aback, since I wasn't a spelling bee person and was only dimly aware of the whole "no revising your spelling" rule and certainly not aware it was going to be hardcore enforced when it was six of us kids sitting around in the freakin' library in what didn't feel like a real tryout in the first place. In part I think I was just angry at the idea that people would find it plausible that I, a legitimately precocious reader and speller at that age, would fuck up "engine", of all things. That I would actually think that it had a j in it, when, dammit, I would see that coming a mile away! Getting disqualified was bad enough, but getting disqualified on a production error rather than a knowledge error was totally galling.

Not that I was able to articulate any of that at the time. I probably just said "geez" and sulked a little.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:32 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I got eliminated on "February". It wasn't a proper Bee, just an inclass game for a lazy afternnoon, and I had the best grades in the class and always did super well on the French dictées, and I was on the opposing team from the boy I had a crush on, and I was so going to impress him with how well I could spell even though I'd only been in Canada for a year at that point, and I even managed "chrysanthemum", and then I got eliminated on fucking "February". I spelled it "Februrary" and knew as soon as I said it that it was wrong, but there was no turning back. My crush laughed sort of good-naturedly at the gaffe and I was totally mortified.

That was my first and only experience in anything resembling a spelling competition. I've always wondered what it would've been like to actually compete in Spelling Bees. My neurotic perfectionist nature colliding with my then incessant need to prove how smart I was would not have been a pretty combination. It's probably a good thing my elementary school could barely manage to keep the school building upright, let alone send delegates to Spelling Bees.

On the other hand, I only found out years later that I'd for some reason been spelling "Octobre" the French way, thinking it would be like "center/centre", so I could have definitely gone out on worse mistakes.
posted by Phire at 8:55 PM on February 15, 2012


Spelling bees mostly just taught my that my ability to spell is almost completely visual. (There is probably a reason.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:04 PM on February 15, 2012


I actually have sent back a letter with corrections. It was for the laughs, though. I frequently make typos, though they bug the hell out of me. It's usually when I'm tired or have a migraine, and not so much if I've had a drink. Weird.

Also, I always want to spell certain words in UK standard instead of U.S. standard, Colour, color
posted by annsunny at 9:06 PM on February 15, 2012


To spell any longish or difficult word aloud, I have to air write it. Or legitimately write it. But the muscle memory is apparently like 70% of my spelling ability. Though I don't have a problem typing... so I guess it's less muscle memory and more just memory of what I've already said out loud?
posted by vegartanipla at 9:22 PM on February 15, 2012


I remember being 14 or so and being on Commodore BBSes. I'm sure my style of writing and general knowledge of the world was pretty laughable to the adults there (if any). I'm still thankful they tolerated me and engaged with me as an equal rather than making it into some cultural jihad over how I spelled things or if I used slang they didn't like or whatever.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:47 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it makes you feel any better, 23skidoo, it's kind of killing me that the permalink URL strips the apostrophe out of my contraction. That's sort of like shame, isn't it?

I wasn't calling anyone out. All the evidence suggests that "shepherd" is hard to spell. The missing "e" from the sheep herder's job title seems likely to be the culprit. "Rhythm" is my bugbear because it has too many aitches and I can't always replace it with "beat".

I was definitely not suggesting that the mods edit our copy. Heavens to betsy and FSM forfend, no.

Having gotten this off my chest and given people the chance to get their irregardlesses on, I am happy to have it closed up. I should probably just have MeMailed the OP with my other-spellings-tags suggestion. It's grant season and I'm so very tired of looking at manuscripts, is all, and there's no end in sight and it's a NAME you can't just spell names wrong all willy-nilly.
posted by gingerest at 10:37 PM on February 15, 2012


I ufe the Canterbury stylebuk.
posted by klangklangston at 12:29 AM on February 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hey I get it. I always cringe at obvious mistakes, but some words are tougher than others and sometimes there's just a typo. I'm only anal about names, I've found the subjects rather appreciate it.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:36 AM on February 16, 2012


It is trivially easy to edit that script to make any substitutions you want. If I can do it, a blind baboon with no arms could do it. That's how I gave jessamyn back a (textual version of) her star.

Well, it's trivially easy to make a simple substitution script like that one (which does daft things like replace every instance of 'check' with 'cheque') but making one that would reliably replace all mentions of the various terms for school years with ages or age ranges, without completely mangling the original sentences, is actually a pretty tricky problem.

Shouldn't it be 'Mum'?

Depending on where you are in the UK it should/could be ma, mam, mammy, mom, mommy, mum or mummy.

I say 'mom' because my Mom is from Birmingham, which I suppose is where Americans got 'mom' from. If you want to piss off someone from the West Midlands, ask them why they use the 'American' spelling/pronunciation.
posted by jack_mo at 2:37 AM on February 16, 2012


You talkin bout the See Shepid?
posted by fuq at 4:41 AM on February 16, 2012



Actually, one thing I've noticed over the past couple of years is an increasing number of spelling mistakes, or just plain gibberish that have been entered as comments, presumably because more and more people are accessing MetaFilter, and interacting on the site, via mobile devices with their crappy little keyboards.


I don't think its a technological issue, when you have paragraphs and paragraphs of rambling feedback that closely resembles hawkwind playing at brixton academy, people take their cue from that.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:52 AM on February 16, 2012


the past tense of "broadcast" is "broadcast". that is all.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:15 AM on February 16, 2012


I was just skimming along and hoped for a brief second this might be a Mass Effect thing, but no.

I'm Commander Shepard and Metafilter has my most favorite grammarians on the internet.
posted by exogenous at 5:42 AM on February 16, 2012


That ain't a shepherd.
posted by gauche at 7:00 AM on February 16, 2012


jack_mo: “I say 'mom' because my Mom is from Birmingham, which I suppose is where Americans got 'mom' from. If you want to piss off someone from the West Midlands, ask them why they use the 'American' spelling/pronunciation.”

Indeed, most people from Birmingham seem to feel that way. Although, to be honest, my experience wasn't that they dislike being called "American;" they just prefer that you know they're not "damned Yankees from up North."

Ain't no Ham like Birmingham...
posted by koeselitz at 7:23 AM on February 16, 2012


A challenge -- find an error that Google locates only once.
Extra points if by a professional with an advanced degree in communication(s).

(Of course after you've posted it, it'll show up twice.)

My latest find: "" I writes frequently for"

Now that'll show up three times.
posted by hank at 7:32 AM on February 16, 2012


A challenge -- find an error that Google locates only once.
Extra points if by a professional with an advanced degree in communication(s).


This game is called "Hapax Legoman."
posted by gauche at 7:43 AM on February 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


While we're at it, please put the s at the end of plurals even if you don't hear it: terrorists, racists, breasts.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:14 AM on February 16, 2012


Jack Shepherd is sad.
posted by Sassyfras at 8:19 AM on February 16, 2012


GRAB A KNEE

WHOSE?



Ummm... I believe you mean: WHOM'S...
posted by Debaser626 at 8:21 AM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is for y'all: The Elements of Style wrap rap.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:27 AM on February 16, 2012


Mefi's own hapax legomenon.
posted by rtha at 8:48 AM on February 16, 2012


"shepherd" is really hard to spell.

Are you serious? My God, what is going on in schools today?
posted by Decani at 10:08 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm only anal about names, I've found the subjects rather appreciate it.

In a Newspaper Journalism 101 class, the prof told us, "If you get nothing else correct in a story — if you write that the sun rises in the west and the Battle of Hastings was in 1776 — spell people's names correctly. There is NOTHING most people care about as much as having their name spelled correctly, although they won't say so if you ask them directly."
posted by Lexica at 10:14 AM on February 16, 2012


> LH, in contrast, is notably exercised against prescriptivism on a classism basis, so I've always found it interesting that he's an editor and, of course, routinely uses prestige English.

Well, it is interesting, no question about it. Here's how I see it: I think standard/prestige English is a fine thing. I enjoy manipulating it myself and seeing it well used by others, and of course the fact that my knowledge of it (and of how to supplement the inevitable gaps in my knowledge) enables me to scrape out a living is useful. I don't have anything against people enjoying and using standard English; what I dislike intensely is the use of it as a bludgeon to beat other people over the head with. "They/you can't even use correct spelling/grammar—how stupid/trashy/uneducated/worthless!" "I stopped reading once I saw an apostrophe misused!" That kind of thing. Knowing how to put your thoughts into impeccable standard English does not mean they are good thoughts; the two things are entirely unrelated. I'd rather spend an evening chatting with some of the semiliterate drunks I've known than with, say, William F. Buckley. It's one thing to enjoy dressing up to go to a fancy restaurant, and quite another to mock anyone who doesn't wear (or own) suits.

On another topic, I once got eliminated from a spelling bee on the word "Christmas" (which, needless to say, I knew perfectly well how to spell). In the spirit of cortex's "I probably just said 'geez'": Jiminy Christmas!
posted by languagehat at 10:25 AM on February 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ah here's the pronunciation guide! How to properly pronounce shepherd. I guess...
posted by Namlit at 10:41 AM on February 16, 2012


I got all the way to the all-school round of the spelling bee, and was apparently the first third-grader ever to do so. It was up in front of everybody in the whole school. And of course I failed miserably on the very first word: "automobile," which, in my nervousness, I spelled "atoumobile." It was very embarrassing, and I was glad when we moved away the next year.
posted by koeselitz at 10:42 AM on February 16, 2012


Third grade. Niagara. I saw it spelled correctly in my mind's eye, but found the second A NOT PASSING MY LIPS. It's really a feeling you never forget.
Oh, the shame, the shame.
posted by readery at 10:47 AM on February 16, 2012


"Well, it is interesting, no question about it. Here's how I see it: I think standard/prestige English is a fine thing. I enjoy manipulating it myself and seeing it well used by others, and of course the fact that my knowledge of it (and of how to supplement the inevitable gaps in my knowledge) enables me to scrape out a living is useful. I don't have anything against people enjoying and using standard English; what I dislike intensely is the use of it as a bludgeon to beat other people over the head with. "

Yeah, I didn't mean to imply that you were hypocritical. It doesn't seem like you inferred that, but just in case, I certainly didn't intend it. And I do quite understand your intense dislike of using prestige English usage prescriptivism to bludgeon other people in a way that enforces discriminatory class distinctions--I quite agree with you about this.

I guess what I find interesting is that the prescriptivist bludgeoning is, as I see it, only the tip of an iceberg that's more dangerous and pernicious in the parts below the water than above. If classism is a problem, and I think it is, and if class distinctions are strongly reinforced by language use and related biases, as I think they are, then heavily participating in the usage of and within institutions that employ prestige English is being a part of the problem.

Frankly, I'm very ambivalent about these issues and my thoughts are confused. It's easier for me to take a stand against prescriptivism on the basis of it being unscientific, untrue, and often just stupid than it is to take a stand against it on the basis of classism, because I've invested a great deal of cultural capital into advancing to a position within a particular social class that heavily involves prescriptivism about language usage. I'm not comfortable with this, but I am not so uncomfortable that I'm going to make a significant lifestyle change, which is pretty much the same way I feel about meat consumption.

On the spelling stuff, for whatever it's worth, my own experience weirdly is at odds with almost all of my peers and I've never known what to make of this. My spelling was very, very poor when I was young and it's been a lifelong effort to slowly whittle away at my own misspellings. No one in my family remembers a period after infancy where there was a time I didn't read, though it surely existed, and the point is that I did read very, very early. But almost everyone else I've known who was also a precocious reader are good spellers. To me, I always thought that I wasn't because I just skipped right over the sounding words out stage and paying attention to spelling and only recognized words by their overall shape. I can't even remember ever reading individual words instead of as phrases. But maybe that's not the explanation.

So I've ambivalent feelings and impulses about spelling. On the one hand, having been a bad speller for all of my youth and early adulthood, I sympathize and that part of me doesn't want to judge people for misspellings. On the other hand, like everyone else who's had to work to conform to a standard, another part of me is annoyed that other people don't or haven't made the effort. It's not the misspelling that bothers me, it's what seems like not caring about the misspellings that bothers me.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:36 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


But almost everyone else I've known who was also a precocious reader are good spellers. To me, I always thought that I wasn't because I just skipped right over the sounding words out stage

My late father was also a prodigious reader his whole life--I should know, I now have the task of finding new homes for his thousands of books--and a horrendous speller. When I went to the state spelling bee in high school, the people he worked with thought it was HILARIOUS and made the usual jokes about the postman, etc. My mother always attributed my father's spelling problems to not being taught to sound out words.

Anybody know what I can do with a kajillion history and PoliSci books that have all been covered in clear plastic and marked up with red pen AND highlighter?
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 11:46 AM on February 16, 2012


I corrected the spelling of responsibility three effing times in an answer this morning. Just saw that answer again in recent activity - the word re-uncorrected between that last preview and post.

This did not happen on a bus. No motion, no sunshine glare. iPhone is simply out to get me.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 11:53 AM on February 16, 2012


Anybody know what I can do with a kajillion history and PoliSci books that have all been covered in clear plastic and marked up with red pen AND highlighter?

Where are they? Seriously, if they're in driving distance of Connecticut, New Hampshire, or Ithaca, New York I'll come take them off your hands by the carload.
posted by gauche at 12:18 PM on February 16, 2012


Where are they? Seriously, if they're in driving distance of Connecticut, New Hampshire, or Ithaca, New York I'll come take them off your hands by the carload.

...if they happen to be in New York City, can you bring me up some Jimmy John's?
posted by griphus at 12:20 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bummer! I'm on the other coast (and so are the books). I guess it depends on how you define "driving distance," though.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 1:46 PM on February 16, 2012


I washed out on psychology.

Guess what my mom does for a living.


So...you found yourself compelled to mutilate or to castrate the spelling of your mother's profession. This profession that competed with you for your mother's attention. Ve-ery interesting...
posted by yoink at 3:36 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sometimes a noun is just a noun.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:38 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes a cigar is a beaver cleaver.

(sorry)
posted by yoink at 4:42 PM on February 16, 2012


See: Alsatian
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:32 PM on February 16, 2012


I've got some reference material here - let me take a peak.
posted by bendy at 7:27 PM on February 16, 2012


Don't worry about, I just checked my reference materials. It says yoink is projecting his own fears onto r_n.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:40 PM on February 16, 2012


There was a sign I saw once for a Little Sheppards Daycare and it made me sad.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:34 AM on February 17, 2012


Mefi's own hapax legomenon.

Hapax legomenon: THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:25 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


man, its a doggie dog world up in meta.
posted by desjardins at 10:42 AM on February 17, 2012


You have intensive purposes trotting out that line, desjardins.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:52 AM on February 17, 2012


There was a sign I saw once for a Little Sheppards Daycare and it made me sad.

I regularly pass a daycare center called "Touch by an Angel". It bugs me to no end. And a beauty shop I used to pass regularly had a neon sign "Illussion of Beauty".

OK, first the spelling is whack. But do you even want to pay for illusionary beauty?
posted by readery at 11:00 AM on February 17, 2012


do you even want to pay for illusionary beauty?

I would pay a TON of money for this, because then I could go out and do errands in my pajamas with eye crusts hanging out all over my face but I'd have this BEAUTY ILLUSION™ package going so people would be like "That Jessamyn, she always knows just what to wear to the post office..."
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:08 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Storage place near me has a sign that says, "Her treasure's/his junk." I keep thinking that they actually paid money for that.

What's with people who can't make plurals? (Or plural's, as the case may be.)
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 11:12 AM on February 17, 2012


ALL beauty is illusory.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:41 AM on February 17, 2012


I recall hearing one time "we describe people by their imperfections" and it stuck with me because it is true to a certain extent; considering that no one is perfect, we are going to default to describing the non-perfect parts which of course makes the saying tautological.
But if you think about how you describe other people, you generally have to describe things that stand out or are memorable which usually end up being things that differentiate them from others. Describing what you would consider beautiful is hard, and as an example you sometimes get the love struck character describing the apple of their eye by blabbering nothing except stuff like "s/he's an angel" or "s/he is perfect".
posted by P.o.B. at 12:25 PM on February 17, 2012


Allusive, elusive and illusive still totally kick my ass. There's an Illusive Cave in Mexico, officially named so, despite the fact that the cavers meant "Elusive," since they had trouble finding it the second time, but they decided it fit, anyway.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:30 PM on February 17, 2012


Another Mass Effect reference in one thread! The "Illusive" man!
posted by Justinian at 11:08 PM on February 18, 2012


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