Friday, May 27, 2011

Litle + Little (for Little)

Anyone who has ever had the simultaneously sweet and tart enjoyment of reading Little Women knows that there were four of them: Meg, the kind and amiable older sister; Jo, the headstrong tomboy and budding writer (alter ego of author Louisa May Alcott); Beth, the saintly invalid; and Amy, the ringleted, frivolous youngest. In Chapter 7, Amy comes home from school one day, chattering about limes. They're the "latest fashion" among her peers. "If one girls likes another," she explains, "she gives her a lime. If she's mad with her, she eats one in front of her face, and doesn't offer even a suck." I came across a bag of organic limes in the grocery store the other day and have been offering them to my girlfriends ever since (one of whom I hadn't seen in over ten years). I may give one to you as well. But if you see me looking a little green around the gills and making a sour face, you'll be sure to know that I'm "mad with you." (Not at you or about you, mind you, but with you. Are you with me?) There were 78 instances of Litle + Little in OhioLINK today, which is an awful lot for such a little typo. A certain percentage of these are bound to involve proper names and antiquated or vernacular spellings, but most appear to be typos of just the sort you might expect.

(Lime sliced in half, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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