Erasure and eraser, entrance and enter
There’s a weird thing that happens to writers who rely on computer based spelling assistance. They forget how to spell things.
This week, editing for three different publications, I’ve come across the weirdest word confusions. ‘She scrubbed furiously with the erasure’ for example. Microsoft Word sees nothing wrong with this construction, but I do, and so should a writer who has proofread their own work. Others have been entrance used as a verb in place of enter, high ruler for high roller (quite amusing that one, found in a story set in a backstreet gambling den – it added a flavour of Lord of the Rings to illegal poker and bare-fist fighting) and, bizarrely, ‘she sought the impeachable’. I don’t know what that last writer was trying to say; impossible, imperfect? It’s meant to be a complete sentence and of course it could be sought that has been mangled – or maybe she sought the impeachment? But that makes no sense in the context of the story.
The problem for me in all this, is that, although I like getting paid to edit, I feel too many writers are leaning on Microsoft Word, or editors like me, instead of learning their craft properly.
I’m actually a little sick too, of students who tell me that ‘it’s what editors are there to do’ when I suggest they correct basic errors of spelling and grammar in their work. I know that they stand little chance of getting published with such sloppy attitudes, but it’s depressing to find so many people who desire to be a writer without ever putting in the hours needed to learn the basic tools of the craft.