Monday, July 16, 2012

Should I Be Worried?

My credit union sent out a newsletter.  In it, mortgage principal is spelled as "principle."  Now, this is an easy mistake to make.  Not only would the spellchecker portion of a word processing program not catch it since "principle" and "principal" are both words in the spellchecker dictionary and spellchecker only looks for misspellings and not the use of a wrong word, but also the way our brains organize language seems to be partly based on sound so these type of homophone errors occur even to those of us who know the difference and shouldn't make them. We've probably all done something similar (for example, have you ever written "to" when you meant to write "two"?), so let he or she without linguistic sin throw the first comma splice, eh?

Still, it's a credit union.  Even if it's no big deal (I still understood what they were writing about), the error doesn't inspire confidence.  They're loaning "principal" out; one would hope they'd know how to spell it.  I'd offer to do some freelance proofreading for the credit union (clearly, they need the help), but, in my experience, people don't typically respond with job offers when you point out that they're incompetent.  I just hope they're better with math than they are with language.

Ultimately, I suppose it's the "principle" of the thing that makes it sew . . . er . . . so disturbing.

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