May 29, 2012

You must be mistaken!

by Gary Fearon, Creative Director

Not really me. I don't wear horizontal stripes.
I couldn't have been any older than eight or nine but I'll remember the moment as long as I live.  I was watching a TV show and at one point, the station went into a commercial break. But instead of an ad for Texaco or Alka Seltzer, there was only a black screen which lasted for many attention-getting seconds. After an eternity, a countdown slate appeared and, finally, a commercial came on. Even at that young age I realized an error had been committed and thought, "This is professional TV! That can't happen!"

Up until that time I believed TV had to be perfect, including all the broadcasters, actors, and everyone connected to it.  This was big time entertainment, with no room for error!  In my shell-shocked state, I made a pint-sized pledge to myself that if I ever worked in a professional capacity, mistakes like that would never happen on my watch.

Today I know better. Careers in the arts and media have since educated me about the reality and the frequency of technical difficulties, dead air and human error. In my modern-day position with a fine metropolitan magazine, I see (and make) no fewer mistakes, which keeps me humble and grateful for our team of trusty proofreaders.  I wish I had a fiver for each time I carelessly typed one word while thinking another, or tried to spell dilemma "dilemna" (though I swear that's how they spelled it at my school)!

With that in mind, you'll appreciate an excellent post written by Brian Clark of Copyblogger. In his 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly, Brian spells out some of the most common grammatical errors writers make.  I invite you to check it out.

Here's to a faux pas-free writing week for all of us.  Meanwhile, I'll be monitoring local TV today to see how many Memorial Day car commercials are still running, and saying a little prayer for all the nine year olds whose faith in mankind is dashed.


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