Brian was one of my lecturers at uni; an author, documentary maker and Emmy-winning television producer. He taught Media Technology and Documentary Theory.
I used to love Brian’s Media Technology lectures because he had no time for technology which didn’t perform as it should. He particularly had a bee in his bonnet about word processing software packages.
“The trouble with them,” he’d say, “is that they’re not made by writers; they’re made by computer programmers.”
Every now and then when I’m writing something with Microsoft Word (like right now, for instance), I’ll be reminded of Brian’s frustrations in an unintentionally funny way. Word’s spelling and grammar check is, for the most part, pretty helpful. But occasionally it does throw some absolute howlers at you, as it deems the perfectly okay thing you’ve written to be wrong and offers some terrible alternative in its place.
I’ve collected several of these ‘Wordisms’, as I call them, over the years. Here are some of my favourites.
What I wrote What Word said I should have written instead
- “We were finished by 5pm.” 5pm finished us.
- “Many of those friends committed suicide, and the thought of ending it all crossed Juan’s mind several times.” Many of those friends committed suicide, and the thought of ending it Juan’s entire crossed mind several times.
- “… how to defend ourselves.” … how to defend we.
- “… if there are issues that impact on the local community.” Either “… if there is issues that impact on the local community” or “… if there are issues those impacts on the local community.”
- “I loved my time in Ecuador, especially Atacames beach.” I loved my time in Ecuador, especially Teacakes beach. (it also suggested Oatcakes beach)
- “’Boom’ and ‘I’m Running’ could have come off a Jackson Five album.” ‘Boom’ and ‘I’m Running’ could have come off a Jackson Five albums.
- “Everything seemed so bad.” Everything seemed so badly.