I was reading my morning newspaper today and kept on stumbling upon mistakes. Luckily there were no spelling mistakes, but plenty of skipped words, wrong word order and other stylistic disorders. Mistakes are annoying. Very annoying. Really.
I’m not talking about misspellings and mistakes in status updates, tweets, chats or text messages. Typed fast, often from a phone they are doomed to contain mistakes that are a pity, but no more than that. Although I do tend to remove my tweets and type them over if I notice a mistake. I also have a lot of respect for people whose tweets and status updates are always mistake free. But when it comes to texts that were supposed to be written, read, edited, reread and edited again I am rather unforgiving.
I take grammar very seriously. As I write this I realise that when it comes to ‘measuring’ someone’s influence on me their writing would give quite an accurate picture. I tend to accept the authority of those who write well and disregard opinions and expertise of those who misspell or make stylistic mistakes. Even if the subject of their expertise has nothing to do with languages.
Some time ago I translated my resume to German as homework for my German class. Yesterday I received it back corrected by the teacher. “Sehr gut!” – she wrote on top of the paper. The two pages contained seven mistakes. That can’t be ‘sehr gut’! It’s not even ‘gut’ – there are mistakes. It took me a whole day to calm down about it and accept that mistakes are a part of the learning process and if my teacher says my work is ‘sehr gut!’ I’d better be proud of myself. I even played with the idea of accepting that not all people have the talent for languages and I should rather look at the essence of the message before turning it down because of the bad grammar. But no. I hate mistakes and I will consider unsubscribing from my newspaper if I stumble upon four or more mistakes in one article ever again.