Mette Lisby – Is it just me… – August 2019

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… who startles when I see a comment pointing out a mistake in someone’s mundane social media post?

Somebody posts about a meal they’ve had and someone bothers to point out a misplaced comma or missing apostrophe. Really? Who are these people who have dedicated their life to proofreading the internet? And why don’t they have anything else to do?

TEXT & PHOTO: METTE LISBY

I get pointing out the common ‘your’ versus ‘you’re’ mistake, because that can alter the meaning of a sentence and is generally confusing. Generally speaking, I am pretty meticulous when it comes to spelling – but it does happen that I misspell something in a social media post, and strangers feel the need to point that out to me. If that bothers you so much that you need to take time out of your day to point that out to me, I’ve got great news! You should most definitely stay with me, because I guarantee you there will be plenty of more mistakes from me.

To me, putting commas into a sentence is like decorating a set table with flowers: I put them randomly where I think they look nice. In my defence, the comma rules have changed time and time again, and at least in Denmark, even the spelling of certain notoriously tricky words has changed, simply to accommodate the fact that no one under the age of 40 knows how to spell them the old-fashioned way.

You can weep over old virtues lost, but you can also embrace it and go with the positive angle: maybe it’s not worth bothering about. Choose your battles, you know?

If you’re that obsessed with other people’s mistakes and you have taken it upon yourself to be the linesman of the world wide web, it’s not like there’s nothing to go on about. I mean please, please, please, instead of pointing out innocent, misplaced commas, could you focus your energy and spend your time fact-checking the internet instead? That should keep you busy, and it would leave the rest of us – the random comma-throwing savages of the world – a whole lot better off.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Scan Magazine Ltd.’

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