Each language has its own set of native mistakes that foreigners would never make. Those specific errors are very important to us because they are dead giveaways of where the speaker stands in our social and cultural scale. They have immense worth as clues to judge others, to know whether they belong to our crowd, whether we should befriend them, ostracize them or even hate or love them. We should be grateful for language errors because they make our lives so much easier.
The other day, two dear colleagues were chatting on Facebook about the mistakes, the errors in English that peeve them most. An editor has to read poorly put-together prose, syntactical nonsense, and grammatical errors. I was thinking how lucky those writers were. I would send back any article where I read: "the four of them were kissing each other", because I am not my brother's keeper.
Along with the kind suggestion to revise, I would also suggest the writer sue her alma mater. If a university is not able to teach its students proper English, if nothing else, then that college is not worth its salt. A money-back-guarantee clause should be part of the bylaws of any accredited school. But I digress:
Never send a piece of writing with:
"The man who's wife I met, left town."
"Where is he at."
"He climbed up the steps."
"I will bring it to you personally."
"He ain't nothing but a hound dog."
"The police is coming."
"To who it may concern."
"Like I was saying."
"It is I."
"Anyways, do what you want."
"While some people think he is a good man, in my opinion he is a thief."
"She can't do nothing right."
"The data is on your desk."
"The money is absolutely necessary."
"He is completely deaf."
"The bottle is half empty."
"Sit besides me."
"Can I come in?"
"If I was you, I would not do it."
"I hate this kinds of people."
Thank Heaven for little, and big, errors, come to think of it. I am thankful for mistakes, in English and in Spanish. They relieve me of the burden of responsibility. What a relief it is to be able to toss a journal into the waste-paper basket when I spot a mistake. What a glorious feeling to discover that there are others who seem to know less than us. Other people's errors are uplifting and build up our self esteem. When I read that "everybody in the room were drunk" I feel elated, overjoyed, more confident, happy even. I am in the know. I belong to the literati, the culturally chosen few, and I can feel superior and give the illiterate one the cold shoulder, the brush.
I envy editors who are flooded with mistakes, poor syntax, ill-chosen vocabulary, blatant grammatical errors. They can feel on top of the cultural world. They can exchange mistakes with other editors and have a very good time gossiping about the terrible state of affairs that are destroying our western heritage. Schooling is not what it used to be. O tempora, o mores. You lucky dogs!