Saturday, April 02, 2005

Second From Last

As a writer and copy editor, I have a natural contempt for misused words, grammar and punctuation. My biggest pet peeves are ordinary misspelled words. I have a friend in college who—even after I've lectured her hundreds of times—continues to write would of and could of. Did I mention she's in college? She gets you're and your confused as well. Another friend called me up one day, amazed that she'd found a mistake in the dictionary. It seems they left out a very common word: alot. How I laughed and laughed.

Several years ago, one of the advertisers in the magazine I edit typically bought a monthly full-page ad on the back cover. This boat builder designed his own ads in house, and would always, always let a few typos get into his text. And of course, his was the only ad I ever looked at, because I would always hunt for his stupid mistakes.

One month, looking at his newest ad, I burst into peals of childish laughter. I called him up immediately to ask him about it.

"So, I see in your new full-page ad that you claim to be the penultimate builder in the boating industry!"

"That's right," he confirmed.

"How does it feel to be second from last?" I asked him.

What is your biggest writing-related pet peeve?