Speling at a locul yoonivercity

Posted on 23 Mar 2009 at 7:45am

I got an e-mail today from a rep at an area university (I won’t say which to protect the guilty) which mentioned that a particular service had recently started up again because — wait for it — they were no longer on “hiadous.”

She meant “hiatus.”

Yikes. I’m always curious about misspellings. Certainly as a professional writer, I have suffered my own typos and errors often. I hate it when others — and sometimes myself! — confuse similar but different words (its vs. it’s; shudder vs. shutter). But how does one TYPE a word they think they know which they are clearly making up? Heard of spell-check? How about a f@%*king dictionary?! It’s not like it’s a proper name, or that she could have even seen the misspelling anywhere else before — this was a total fiction.

It reminds me of a student’s paper once, which referred to a “goo-roo” (instead of “guru”). She used it correctly, but how could she be sure when she spelled it phonetically. I wondered: What made her insert a hyphen? If she couldn’t be bothered to try to find out HOW to spell it, what mechanism did she use to settle on her made-up spelling? The same is true of “hiadous.” Why not “hyadis”? Or “high ate us”?

“Close enough for government work” is one thing; but a university? Geez.

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