Improper English for everyone

coffee and computer

I have been on the lookout for a new hobby, and I believe I may have stumbled upon one. I am tempted to start correcting online spelling and grammatical errors. I will never lack for work.

I am not a difficult person. I realize even the most careful typist makes an error from time to time. Such is being human. That said, there are some repeat instances of mishandling the English language that really stand out. The almost across-the-board inability of the average person to differentiate “lose” from “loose” aside, we are definitely struggling as a society of wordsmiths.


Granted, there will always be multiple ways to spell certain words because the English language is impossible. The very definition of “English” varies. We have true English versus American English. I feel like the very moment the colonists gained independence they immediately set about changing the spelling of select words “JUST BECAUSE WE CAN — SO THERE!”

I imagine a council of freshly minted Americans who traveled for miles to meet and mess up the way we list dates (month-day-year rather than year-month-day formats preferred by England). Considerable time was also given to forever mucking up the spelling of “gray/grey” and “flavour/flavor,” “humour/humor,” “neighbour/neighbor,” “defence/defense,” and so on. It is also an absolute fact that we resist the implementation of the metric system like it will steal our souls.

“You’re not the boss of me!” indeed.

I’m not out here nitpicking heartfelt posts and notes. I have a strong suspicion that many people know perfectly well HOW to phrase and spell. I blame “talk to text” and “autocorrect” for minor errors. I myself have had my own phone misspell GirlWonder’s name — repeatedly. I’m not always fully alert but I do, in fact, know how to spell my daughter’s name.


Today’s diatribe, er, “essay” will likely only appeal to people who refuse to pay full price like I do. If you are a person who can happily pay full retail, most of what I’m about to complain bitterly about will not apply to you. The rest of us, the thrifty, the “let’s make a deal,” the auction addicts, thrift store stalkers and lovers of online “marketplace” listings will likely identify very strongly with what I am about to say.

I don’t know who needs to know this, but if advertising vintage lawn furniture it is “wrought iron” not “ROD iron.” I cannot stress this enough. Somehow the error of “rod iron” has taken hold and we must stamp it out. Pun intended. Rod iron is metal cut from iron bars. Wrought iron is what you see in furniture and railings. The word ‘wrought” means “beaten out or shaped by a hammer.”

A basic sofa with a lounge area on one end is a “chaise,” not “chase.” If you have to chase your furniture, you have a poltergeist — or small children. To be fair, mine used to move the furniture in the pursuit of “fort building” on a regular basis, so maybe we do have to chase furniture from time to time.

I’m seeing quite a few listings for “duel” recliner sofas? I think the word they are seeking is “dual” as in two. “Duel” is defined as a contest with deadly weapons arranged between two people in order to settle a point of honor. I do not seek violence in my living room. However, if someone I live with keeps leaving dishes on the coffee table, I may rethink my stance on this.

On the other hand, you can also score some great deals online if you just learn to search along the same lines that typos occur. For example, when searching for bookshelves, I suggest entering “bookshleves” or “bookshelfs.” Need a chest of drawers? Try “chester draws.” Yes, really. My current favorite antique dresser will always be known as “Chester draws” to me.

I am on the hunt for a secretary desk for a loved one. My search term is “vintage secretary desk.” I am also searching “antique secret desk,” “secretary deck,” “secret airy desk” and so on. Not surprisingly, none of these have failed to produce results.

When shopping online, you might add in some fun terms like “ugly,” or “weird shape.” I am never surprised by what people call things. I personally love old wooden furniture so the search term “old” plus “brown” rarely lets me down.

On the other hand, if you are selling items, it pays to proofread carefully. A favorite error seen recently couldn’t help but make me giggle.

The seller most likely meant to list their highly collectible Fiestaware BOWLS but what they listed was, most definitely, Fiestaware BOWELS. I don’t care how great a deal it might be. Fiesta bowels never sound like a good time.


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