Spelling for dummies…

I wrote the below for the Daily Mail recently. Here it is again, in case you missed it. Made me laugh (and wince)anyway….!

Last week I popped into French Connection in central London and spotted a T-shirt, with a fabulously apt slogan for me: “This is the woman. Do not interupt her. She is thinking of 25 things at once” it read. As a busy mum of three, this made me laugh so much I couldn’t NOT have it. It was perfect.

Except for one thing: the word ‘interrupt’ is mis-spelt. (You spotted that, of course…)

Now then, it may be that this was a deliberate, subtle way of suggesting that while women can think of many things at once, they cannot spell. Or perhaps it’s because not a single one of the reams of people involved in approving the T-shirt know how to spell ‘interrupt’. Both of which would be pretty depressing.

I contacted FCUK and pointed out the error emblazoned across thousands of their T-shirts, and was impressed to receive a prompt reply from the marketing director. I was informed that some ‘zany creatives’ (actually it said ‘zanny creatives’, but by this stage, who’s counting?) had worked on the slogan, and the error had not been noticed.
What, not by ANYONE??

Which makes you think: does anybody know how to write English properly any more?

Typos and grammatical errors are of course not new. Perhaps the most famous printing error ever occurred in a Bible printed in 1631. In it, the word ‘not’ was omitted from the commandment in Exodus 20:14, so that it read: “Thou shalt commit adultery”. (One wonders is this wasn’t a wishful error on the part of the writer…)

And only this week the managing director of Chile’s national mint was sacked after some bright spark noticed that on the country’s 50-peso coins, the word Chile was spelled “Chiie”. Ooops.

It’s human nature to make the odd mistake here and their. Sorry, there. But surely, once something has been read by several people, not to mention the Spellcheckers we all have on our computers, then any mistakes as obvious as a spelling error should be ironed out? It just shows a level of care about what you do.

The phenomenal success of Lynne Truss’s book, Eats Shoots and Leaves, was a testament to the fact that millions of us are interested in the English language. It just seems that quite a few have missed out on the basic education that would allow them to use it properly.

Those erroneous T-shirts have now been recalled, and correct versions will be hitting the shops soon. All I have to do now, is convince the good sports at FCUK to send the recalled T-shirts to the people of Haiti who need clothing more than they need correct English, and thus avoid adding waste to embarrassment.

I’m not holding my breath…

2 thoughts on “Spelling for dummies…

  1. Mel

    😀 Did you want to contact that “zanny” marketing chap and see what he thinks of the T shirts to Haiti idea… or if they will dontate them to was it the Blue Peter appeal that turns them into hospital gowns for 3rd world contries…I think its called Operation Smile. Would be apt too.. 😉

  2. lizfraser Post author

    I’ve sent an email today….will keep you posted. The Blue Peter appeal is also a great idea – thanks! Just seems an inexcuseable waste to throw them all away.


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