Saturday, 11 May 2013

Why you should read books - BEDM Day 11

"How come you know a lot of words?" is something that's been asked of me before.

I don't know that I even do know a lot of words but the only possible reason I can think that I know more than my fair share is down to the reading that I've been doing all my life.

So much reading.

I was the Virgin Mary in my Sunday School's Nativity Play once. I came out with Jesus under one arm and a book under the other and apparently hesitated whilst deciding whether the baby or the book should go in the crib first.

Books are good innit. They have the words and the sentences and when you read them, you learn the words and you know how to use them in sentences.

I have a shining example of what happens when you do not read that I would like to share with you.

My best friend works for a company that sells things. (I'm being deliberately vague, I don't just not know my friend). They received a comment from an angry customer who had ordered something which hadn't turned up/the wrong thing had been delivered - the details are not important.

In his long and badly written complaint there was little sentence structure, barely any grammar and I suspected that he did not have a great command of the English language. "Hesitate" was spelled "hesetate" for instance.

This suspicion was confirmed to me when I got near to the end of his complaint. He wanted to let this company know just how much trouble they had caused him. He could have played it safe and said "You've caused me a lot of trouble" but no no no. This guy was aiming big. He wanted them to know what an upheaval they'd caused.

You know that word? Upheaval.

He didn't spell it that way.

He didn't even spell it "upheavel".

No. This guy. This guy. Spelled it....

...are you ready?


"up evil"

No I am most certainly not kidding. I don't joke about spelling kids.

And just in case you think he meant something else, this is the part of the sentence in which I found this gem - "...the up evil iv had to face"

(Let's not start on the fact that the I is not capitalised or should have an e on the end of it, or indeed is missing an apostrophe - we have bigger problems here folks.)

This is what happens when you don't read books. He had the context completely right, he was using the word in the correct way, he has just clearly never ever ever actually seen the word "upheaval" written down.

The mind boggles.


  1. Ahahahahaha! *weeps*

    Someone sent me an email this week which started "Hire". I'm still not sure if she meant "Hiya" (NOT an acceptable way to start a formal email IMO) or wanted to hire something. The rest of the email didn't make much more sense.

  2. Oh. My. Word. *cringe*
    Spelling mistakes by small children can be adorable - my young nephew in a note to my brother and his wife - 'thanks for being such good pearants'.
    Now, at 13, he would not get the same 'aww' in response!

  3. A colleague ends her emails with "Tar" and her name. She's trying to be polite, I suppose.

  4. Goodness me the mind does indeed boggle. HOW can he not have seen that written down, it's used in the news all the time?! I used to get "how do you know that word?!" a lot as a child too- less so now, as my friends and siblings all tend to read a lot too, but I will occasionally get a funny look at work when I use an unusual word. xx

  5. What about all the people who say "pacific" instead of "specific"? Oh, don't get me started...

  6. HAHA! << I actually laughed out loud like that. The way you build it up, too.

    You're so right, though; reading books is important. My grammar and vocabulary are pretty good, too for the same reason; I read a lot. And I am more often than not surrounded by people who are the same. Which makes it all the more shocking when I come across someone who just well, doesn't or rather, can't. I can get a little annoyed (as I wonder whether they just can't be bothered?) but sometimes I actually just feel sorry for them. : (

  7. Hahaha, I love this post. People like that drive me insane, I'm often tempted to throw the nearest book I can see at them in attempt to get them to learn something about the English language! Xx

  8. Gosh, that is a worry! I used to read so much but I just haven't made time the past few years. Quite sad really :(

  9. The misuse of language which upsets me the most is people writing 'could of' and 'would of' etc rather than 'could have'...argh!

  10. Ah that's so funny/tragic! I've come across a few of those instances where, like you say, they know the word, the context etc, but clearly have never seen in written down and have written something completely different. Can't think of any examples to share though annoyingly. Awful all round!

  11. Up evil. Up EVIL????

    If you need me, I'm in a corner quietly giggling to myself and rocking backwards and forwards.

  12. I absolutely love the image of you as Mary, book under one arm, clearly thinking it was more deserving of a place in the manger than the baby Jesus.


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