Me and Bill is not proper grammar
The Computer Corner
By Charles Miller
In writing this column I am indebted to the members of my Editorial Review Board who volunteer their time to help make me look good by proofreading this column before it goes to press. These people are friends who live outside of Mexico or people who have moved away but still want to continue reading this column. My agreement with them is that they need to contribute by checking spelling, grammar and style. In spite of everyone’s best effort, sometimes a mistake still manages to show up in print.
Recently I received emails from three of my assistants concerning the spelling of a certain word, in this case a word spelled one way when used as a noun and another when a verb. Two of my contributors questioned the spelling and one complemented me for not making a common mistake with that word. Well, in the end somebody at the newspaper office ran my submission through a spell-checker and that software substituted the wrong word, which then appeared in print. Sigh.
The ability of computers, tablets, and even smart phones to perform spell checking and auto-correction is truly a mixed blessing. When it is used properly, the spell-checking feature is a fine tool, but absent any human oversight it can make matters worse as was the case with the word use error in that other column. One would think the number of spelling and grammar errors made by people using computers and smart phones would decrease, but according to a BBC report “the amount [sic] of errors is increasing.” As you see, even the BBC used a wrong word.
Today cyberspace is ablaze with emails and text messages full of spelling and grammatical errors. Some may be intentional, some ridiculous, and others sad. The one thing many have in common is that some of the senders probably wish they had taken time to read what the spell checker inserted before clicking on “send.”
A driver reported being distracted by teething; but they were actually old enough to have been “tweeting” or “texting.” A young lady wrote to her grandparents saying she was excited to be going off to college because it was a chance to spread her wings; but the spell checker did not recognize whatever she entered while trying to type “wings” so it came out “legs.” Her boyfriend was equally embarrassed when he wrote that he had nailed a common friend rather than “emailed” her. The texts exchanged between the two young lovers ended when he got a little frisky and texted that he wanted to jump her but the spell checker substituted “dump” her. Confusion in the classroom followed when someone wrote in biology class they were studying a “turquoise” when it should have been a “tortoise.” There was hilarious confusion with organism and orgasm, and in history class with virgins and Virginians.
The award for getting into the most hot water over spell checking errors goes to the husband who texted his wife that he had laid the babysitter; he later insisted he had typed “paid.” Then he got into more trouble when he emailed his employer that he had killed a client he was supposed to have “billed” because they were balking, not “talking.”
He immediately began to assiduously read and correct every email and text before sending it. “Missouri loves company” so he tried to hook up with some friends hoping to commiserate while the situations at home and work cooled off. The exchange of texts went something like this:
“I need to get out of the house for a bit.”
“Me and Bill are goin fur a beer. Wanna cum?”
“Bill and I… Me and Bill is not proper grammar.”
“Your right. Its just Bill and I cuz your no longer invited.”
Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981 and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044-415-101-8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.