Spot the “deliberate” mistake

When I saw this on Pinterest I knew that I had to write something about it. It is an error that I see on a regular basis and drives me up the wall.

To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong spelling mistake

Spot the deliberate mistake Source: mevesdropping.tumblr.com

If you can’t see what’s wrong in that sentence, please go and look up the word “loose” in a dictionary. Off the top of my head I will say it is an adjective and means the opposite of tight. It is not a verb! “Lose”, please note that there is only one ‘o’, is the verb that the creator was looking for.

As an English Language graduate and owner of two copies of “Eats, shoots and leaves“, I am horrified by the number of errors such as this that I see every day. And not just in casual writing, on Twitter and blogs, but in newspapers and magazines. Whoever does the editing for most of the monthly glossy magazines needs a course in grammar, let me tell you that. And don’t get me started on the television. I shout at the television when people get things wrong.

But how did the situation get so bad? I know it seems like a cop-out to blame schools but education is a big issue. I was lucky when I was at school in that we had spelling tests, we were taught how to use an apostrophe, we were taught what nouns, verbs and adjectives were. I’m not sure how much of this is taught in schools now. But what I learnt is still nowhere near sufficient.

My degree was split between English Language and French and I always found French grammar particularly difficult. I could only remember rules by remembering examples. But when I went to university and started studying English Language as a subject everything became much clearer. How on earth was I meant to learn the grammar of another language when I didn’t have a clue about the grammar of my own language?

So for me, the solution to the chronic issue of bad spelling and grammar lies in education and teaching children how to do things the right way. And whilst that will not rescue the current generation it might do a little to preserve the English language in the future.

What do you think about the current state of grammar and spelling in the UK? Do you think education should be improved or is it just how the English Language is evolving?

Average Josephine x

Too big for her boots?

When I saw a blogger posting an FYI for PRs on Twitter stating that she didn’t run news stories on launches etc so whilst press releases were fine but e-mails asking for coverage were not, I stopped to think for a minute. I could understand her point but her tone was not pleasant.

Considering this is one of the most well known of Britain’s fashion bloggers (I’m not going to name names but it would probably be relatively easy to work it out), I was stunned at the lack of tact and media savvy that this tweet displayed. Granted the blogger in question probably didn’t think about the tone she was employing whilst trying to shoehorn her thoughts into 140 characters but it came across as being a bit snotty and rather arrogant.

So the question it raises is “does the familiarity that Twitter brings lead us to say things without thinking”?

I am not going to say that I have never ever tweeted something without thinking or that something I’ve said could be misconstrued a being offensive. I have tweeted people to say that comments they have made are rather offensive when they have been joking about mental illness (not a laughing matter in my book) and that they shouldn’t be advocating people stopping taking medication as what has worked for them may not work for everyone.

But for me, Twitter is very much part of my social life, I do not get any of my work through it and I am followed by only three or four work colleagues (to my knowledge). I don’t discuss my job as much as possible as I do think there are some things best left out of the public domain. But for a blogger, whose full time job is blogging, to openly berate PRs, who are probably a significant source of information for them and without whom their job would be significantly more difficult, for requesting coverage on a new product launch smacks of someone who has grown a little too big for her boots.

I can understand that someone in her position probably receives hundreds, possibly even thousands of e-mails a day and so extra is probably a pain in the neck but there are ways and means of addressing the problem. On a public forum such as Twitter is not the way to do it in my opinion. These PRs are doing a job and part of that is sending e-mails to people they think are influential and who might be able to give them some coverage. And whilst I might have mis-read the tone of her tweet, if I have then likely as not someone else will have done as well. And to annoy one PR person is to potentially lose out on an opportunity, no matter how big or successful you are.

Do you think that such a request, if you can call it that, should have been issued on Twitter? Or do you think that a little more discretion could have been used?

Average Josephine x

To print or not to print

When I heard rumours of a model with a 20″ waist on Twitter, I was horrified. This girl must be anorexic, I thought, and how irresponsible of the Daily Mail (yes, the article was in the Daily Fail Mail) for printing it when the girl was so clearly ill.

Ioana Spangenberg

Ioana Spangenberg. Source in2eastafrica.net

Having read the article, I still think that the Mail has been irresponsible but not for the same reasons. The model in question is Ioana Spangenberg, who is Romanian, aged 30 and at 5’6″ weighs a mere 6 stone which would give her a BMI of 13.6. Whilst the BMI is an admittedly flawed measure, if you consider that 18.5 and below is classified as being underweight, there is no way that she can be healthy.

Mrs Spangenberg claims to eat three big meals a day and snack on chocolate and crisps. I am not a doctor and I don’t claim to be so whether she has an eating disorder or a metabolic problem I don’t know, but for her to maintain such a low weight her metabolism would have to be extraordinarily high. And I mean obscenely high. To a point where it’s unhealthy.

I still maintain that publishing pictures of this woman is irresponsible given she’s claiming to be healthy. If she was anorexic and admitting she had an illness and this picture was a warning to others about the damage she has done to her body that would be one thing. But she’s not. And she needs help rather than publicity.

The other thing that is irresponsible is that the Mail does not disclose that in their picture Mrs Spangenberg is in fact wearing a corset and that said 20″ waist is not natural but only achieved when wearing a steel boned corset. She’s still unhealthy but if her real figure were shown rather than the restricted version of it (the picture in the Mail is not good quality so I have used one from a different source), the story would not be nearly as dramatic. The world record for the smallest waist whilst wearing a corset is in fact a ridiculously tiny 16″ (about the size of a big jar of mayonnaise) so whilst 20″ is tiny, it isn’t as horrific as it sounds.

My big issue with this piece of “journalism” is two-fold. It does appear that this woman is being exploited for a story. Quite what her problem is I don’t know but she cannot be healthy with a BMI so low. She needs medical attention, not media speculation. As for the omitted aspect of the story that she is wearing a corset and her waistline isn’t actually 20″, they are turning a person into a freak show by implying that it’s natural. And whilst I can’t entirely blame the Daily Mail as they only cater to an audience, they should at least attempt to produce a balanced piece.

But hey, why would they let a little thing like the truth get in the way of a good article?

Average Josephine x