website stats
When I am Copyeditor General ...: Students will get some perspective


Students will get some perspective

Many moons ago, when I was copyeditor of my college newspaper, I noticed an enthusiastic insistence on using the word "perspective" in place of "prospective."

A recent online exploration revealed that nothing has changed.

They discovered no one proofs the college rag.

What perspective are they pondering?

I know what you're thinking: Hey, they're just kids. They're still learning. Isn't that what college is for? So someone can teach them the right way to do it?

That would be a fine argument, except it appears the grown-ups know no better.

If you enjoy suffering, I encourage you too take a look at this rogue's gallery of similar grammatical affronts. I'd planned to post the whole thing here, but decided the image would take too long to load. Seriously.

We'll meet back here to console each other afterward.

One interesting anomaly is that, quite often, the offending phrase is only in the page title and/or filename.

This suggests one of two possibilities:
1) Most coders don't know the difference between "perspective" and "prospective," even when it's right there in the page content;
2) Savvy college marketers deliberately plant the misspelling so the pages show up in search results. Why? Because they recognize that no one knows the difference between "perspective" and "prospective" and may try searching on either one.

I'm not sure which option frightens me more.

Copyeditor General's ruling: The only time I expect to see perspective students is when they're learning about horizon lines and vanishing points.

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites