Saturday, July 28, 2007

Trains Don't Run In Gardens

The paper placemats at my favorite restaurant have ads on them and one is for a store that is “next to the tressel.”

No, it doesn’t mean a tressel that carries flowers and vines, but the trestle which gets the daily trains over Market Street. Bit of a difference there. Flowers weigh a few ounces; locomotives weigh 130 tons each, not including the hundred freight cars following them.

Nobody’s business ever suffered because someone checked the words for spelling and punctuation. It’s probably the other way around. Even our local newspaper, the Citizens’ (s-apostrophe) Voice gets it wrong and occasionally the staff will mention the Citizen’s (apostrophe-s) Voice.

What I like having around is a major dictionary, biographical and geographical dictionaries, and an atlas. Somewhere among those, you can get the right terms, the right spelling for whatever you want. The chances of making an error are small.

You will know there is a big difference between “portable” and “potable” water; the first can be moved, while the second can be consumed. “Ordinance” and “ordnance” are separate as are “material” and “materiel.”

It’s the precision that makes for good writing, for good advertising and to let people be aware that we know what we are talking about.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorites are the people who spell it Harvey's Lake. I remember Grotto had to completely redesign their T-shirts because of that gaffe

July 30, 2007 3:32 PM  

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