Monday, April 1, 2013

Prespect* (for Perspect* or possibly Respect*)

PRESPECT ... find out what it means to me! The most common typos I myself tend to make are those involving short prepositions and other words of two letters: of for on; on for or; it or in for if or is, etc. However, it's one thing to commit that sort of mix-up in a rough draft or an email; it's quite another to do it on a professionally produced piece of signage. The other day I saw a large museum exhibit label with the title: "An Archeological Perspective of Albany." Um, of? Can a place be sentient and thus have a point of view? Was the exhibit about the perspective of the people of Albany, or was it about a perspective on the city itself? Well, clearly it was the latter, and the sign certainly should have said so. The same day that I spotted this failure to proofread, I found myself doing a bit of the crossword puzzle posted in the staff elevator lobby. One clue for Across was "Ulysses or Lee." Someone had filled in the obvious answer, "Grant," but then another person, presumably, had erased it so they could put "to" for the Down clue "toward." But since "Grant" was undoubtedly correct, I thought about that "to" for a minute and realized that "at" was a better choice for "toward" than "to" was. Although "to" would have probably passed muster—were it not for General Grant and Ms. Lyova Haskell Rosenthal. The moral of the story is that sometimes only one preposition is proper, while other times they can be more or less synonymous. Prespect* (for perspect*) was found 81 times in OhioLINK, and 1471 times in WorldCat.

(Aretha Franklin, 15 July 1967, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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