Now I'm not the perfect speller of words and my grammar and syntax often leave a lot to be desired, but at least I make the effort to spell according to my received conventions!
So, if you use a computer and you have a spell checker, please make sure it's set to check for British spellings if you're British. All members of the colonies are excused, naturally. After all, we're not a nanny state now are we boys and girls!
And while we're at it, how about we try to remember when it's practice and when it's practise, licence and license, different from and different to (my Dad's favourite linguistic conundrum). And don't get me started on ending sentences with prepositions!
It's "For what am I on earth?" not "What am I on earth for?"
The interesting thing about all of this, well interesting to me, is that when I'm writing I often find myself backtracking over sentences because I start them in the wrong place and can't make them make grammatical sense until I fix the beginning. I can't think of a good example, but I'm sure to produce one as I prepare my notes for Sunday morning. I might even manage before the end of this post. I think it has to do with over qualifying what I've already written. That and starting with the wrong part of the sentence, as in the example above.
Perhaps I need to read Eats, Shoots and Leaves properly! If you don't know about the book, it is subtitled The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. The title comes from the story of the Panda who went into a restaurant, ordered a meal, ate it, got up, shot the waiter and left the restaurant. When asked why he'd done this, he replied, "I looked up Panda in the dictionary and it said, "Panda: eats, shoots and leaves: so I did."
And I guess if you don't know why that's funny, you may need to read the book too! (The comma is in the wrong place, in case you hadn't noticed-remember I'm in grumpy old man mode for the duration of this post).
Anyway, I guess I ought to check this piece for split infinitives, misplaced punctuation and improper sentence structure, but I won't. There actually are more important things to do and I've had my little rant about the abuse of 'z'. Maybe it's because we don't have that many words to use in everyday conversation that include a 'z' that we want it not to feel left out. Or maybe it really is the pernicious subversion of our language by the almighty Microsoft. It will all end in tears I'm sure. They might even take a nice word like vista and name an operating system after it!
No, that could never happen, could it?