stevengharms.com

Sententiae viri ex temporibus duobus

Grammatical or Spelling Error?

In an email thread the following was written by me:


From: Steven Harms (stharms) Subject: RE: NPR Story - “Google’s New Message Service Includes Voice”

And their lightweight, open-standard (Jabber, etc.) and play nice with new platforms. Google’s making Andreesen’s predictions come true. Works great on my Mac :-D

You see that I made an error there, I typed their instead of they’re. That’s just what can happen when you type quickly and don’t proofreed.

I noticed the error and re-replied:

From: Steven Harms (stharms) Subject: RE: NPR Story - “Google’s New Message Service Includes Voice”

Egredious spelling error i was thinking “their lightweight client” but the situation called for they’re. I apologize.

steven

Responded a recipient:

To: Steven Harms (stharms) Subject: RE: NPR Story - “Google’s New Message Service Includes Voice”

grammar, spelling - what’s the difference. ;-)

Is it grammar when the intent (thinking “they are”) was right but the spelling (their) was wrong? Or was it spelling when it ruins the grammatical intent?

Strikes me that this is a question of the locus of the intentionality of the subject. If I intended one thing it becomes a grammar error, if I knew the difference between the contraction of they are and the possessive form their then I made a spelling error. It’s a presentation error that changes dependent upon the mindset of the author.

So I talked to my gal, she’s a copy writer by profession, whether this was a spelling error or a grammatical error. After about 5 minutes of sucking down pearl tea she said, “I think you have a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem there.” I told her i was proud to be a linguistic ouroboros.