Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Punctuation Ogre and the Letter Lapper

Remember Thermostat Jeannie, the one who moves my home thermostat up to Hubby’s comfort level? Well, her two best friends, Punctuation Ogre and Letter Lapper, live inside the grammar and spell check feature in my Word program.

When I write anything, be it a blog or article, as soon as I hit “Save,” the two of them get to work. Punctuation Ogre moves commas, or even worse, inserts them in places they don’t belong. I know the proper use of commas—I taught that skill for 35 years. Then she turns quotation marks, especially the end quotes, in the wrong direction. Her other tricks are switching commas and periods, sprinkling quotation marks around words, and misuse of the parenthesis.

Letter Lapper devours letters from words, leaving them grossly misspelled. Sometimes she only nibbles part of a letter, thus changing an “e” to a “c” or an “m” to and “n.” The other day, I typed the word FUNdraiser on a flyer, a word one of the charity organizations in my Seniorville uses. The next day, I received an email saying I omitted the “d.” I know the letter was there when I hit “Save,” but alas, it wasn’t when my friend received the flyer to proof read.

Errors in print mortify me. One reader asked if I ever heard of the grammar and spell check feature. He didn’t believe me when I told him about Punctuation Ogre and Letter Lapper.

I recently received the layout of the manuscript for my book via email. I opened it up to see and voila—each page contained proof Punctuation Ogre and Letter Lapper performed their destruction once again. Since I know the errors were not there when I hit “Send,” the damage had to be done in cyberspace while the book made its way to the publisher. With tears in my eyes, I realized I could no longer fight this war by myself. I sent out a call for the Punctuation and Spelling Warriors.

The Four Star General of Punctuation and Sensible Sounds responded—perhaps because his wife loves my blog and knows how the Ogre and Lapper have frustrated me since I’ve started to write. He carefully fixed the wounds in my manuscript, making him eligible for the Proof Reader’s Medal of Honor. Now if only he would develop a foolproof grammar and spell check program to be installed in all computers, he could be richer than Mark Zuckerberg, My number one fan deserves such a reward!

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