Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Column: Write It Right: Emotional Mistakes

We all know (or should know) many of the reasons why typos and other blunders make their way into writing: haste, apathy, brain-to-keyboard disconnects, poor grasp on grammar and/or punctuation and/or spelling, and so on. The other day I was reminded of yet another reason: high emotion.

Have you ever gotten so angry or upset that nothing coming out of your mouth was quite right? Bumbled words, twisted clichés – a total sputter fest that may or may not have been quite intelligible to the listener. Now take that heightened emotion and mix it with a good dose of modern technology (think tiny keyboards, a quick finger on the “Post” button, and Twitter). The written sputter fest might look something like this:

- These people flat out stopped sellering on E-bay.
- It was true good to be true.
- We are just ponds in their game and they have endless Queen's and Kings.

These were all from a single response – one response! – to an online article about the “millions” people have earned by selling on eBay. This same person actually posted several responses, all quite passionate about the negative eBay experiences he and his wife had. Clearly he was on a roll by the time he made this post.

In the “good old days” of paper and pen, you had a lot of time for your emotions to cool as you scribbled a note or letter expressing your feelings on whatever topic set you off that particular day. Now we have the Internet. Who wants to step back and take a deep breath? Public ranting is only a click away.

(Originally posted at The World Needs a Proofreader, March 30, 2011)

About the writer: Robin Widmar works to support a horse habit and writes to follow a dream. When she’s not writing about demons, dragons, or firefighting, she discusses the rampant typographical errors threatening to take over the written world at The World Needs a Proofreader (http://worldneedsproofreader.blogspot.com/).

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