Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Writing Wrongs"

A day or two ago as I was reading through some of the blogs I visit frequently, I came upon a linky post by one of the DIY bloggers I love (which one is immaterial at the moment.)  This blogger has a regular feature of linking-in parties for those that have a DIY project they'd like to share.  Last week there were three separate contributors that had posted about Valentine's Day decorations around their fireplaces.  All three had the same word misspelled!  I couldn't believe it!  Three of them!  They each used the same homonym (you know, those words that sound alike but are spelled differently) for the word they meant!  

Being always helpful, I was just about to write some sort of not-too-snarky comment correcting them and showing them the error of their ways!  As I was about to start writing the comment, I thought I would check the dictionary to get the definitions of both words correct. So I pulled out my old trusty Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, flipped to the right pages and there it was.  Horrors!!  I couldn't believe my eyes!!  I was so sure that I was right and they were wrong.....but (oh, the shame of it) it turned out that (shudder....) I was the one who was wrong!   I had it backwards, not them!  They all three used the correct word and the homonym I was about to correct them with would have been the mistake!!    

Just to satisfy your curiosity, because I just KNOW you all are sitting there muttering,  " What word??"   "What homonym??"    "What did you get wrong???"   "What words are you talking about??"   Here they are:  Mantel -- as in the fireplace thing,  versus Mantle,  (as in, no, no stop that!!  Sheesh!)  Mantle -- as in a)  a loose, sleeveless cloak or cape; or b)  something that covers, envelops, or conceals: the mantle of darkness. Those ladies were talking about decorating their fireplace mantels, and they were absolutely correct!

Well let me tell you, that took me down a peg or two!  Thank heaven I looked before I leaped!  And none of the three of them knew that they had just been saved from the terrible swift sword of my snarky finger-pointing.  I slunk away from the computer completely demoralized and embarrassed.  I was WRONG.....about a WORD.....oh my goodness, I was about to send out 3 "Writing Wrongs" out to the whole world!!    I may have to completely re-build my confidence about language from the ground up!!  I am so grateful for whatever it was that made me check the words.  If I had done my usual impetuous "point first, check later" cheekiness, I would never be able to hold up my head in Blogland ever again.  

Then I remembered that I, too, had written about decorating my fireplace for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago.  Because I didn't feel humiliated and embarrassed enough, I decided to look up that posting from 2010.  And there it was, big as life....

"The first picture is the mantle, which doesn't actually look quite so bare in reality." 

Oh Lordy, I was wrong back then too!!   This was evidently a long-standing error in usage.  Who knows how many times I may have blatantly advertised to the world that I didn't know the right word for a fireplace mantel!!   And nobody ever commented that I had used the wrong word.  I guess everybody else is nicer than I am.  Yes, my embarrassment is now complete!

NOTE TO SELF:    Really Girl, you have GOT to get over yourself!  You need to remember that you are not a perfect human being, that you are not always right, and that occasionally you can still actually learn something!   It is a lesson I guess I really need to learn!

I've got to tell you though, "mantel" STILL looks wrong to me!!    :)


  1. Well- You were also correct in your usage of in the dictionary-
    c : the outer wall and casing of a blast furnace above the hearth; broadly : an insulated support or casing in which something is heated.
    See-we oldsters are not so dumb after all- xoDiana

  2. I am glad you did not correct them...LOL

  3. Oh mercy! I remember when I was writing about me mantle..I mean mantle...I was not sure...and ran to look at another blog that I had just commented on. I recall that I copied her because she is a SMART cookie. Now...HOW DID I SPELL IT? I must go look!!
    Or.. :):):) You can just tell me, my precious friend, was it...was
    Never mind. I will go look. I can't remember what I had for lunch so I have to go look.
    You can always be "snarky" with me if you like. I won't mind.

  4. My 30 year experienced team teacher at the Middle School always told our classes, "When in doubt, look it up." When she retired the year before me, she honored me with her well used dictionary. Maybe she was trying to tell me something. I keep it close by me when writing anything. And still I make errors. Don't beat yourself up. Most of us either wouldn't notice, and if we did, would let it slide. After all, blogging is for fun.....


Thanks so much for leaving a comment. It's really nice knowing what you think!! Besides, comments keep me from feeling like I'm here all by myself!! :)

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