Blogs and personal sites

Spotting mistakes


I think, and certainly hope, that I am not alone in being able to spot mistakes and failings in other people’s writings, but not those in my own.

It is quite embarrassing to find errors on what I have published on this site, even if the readership is minute. Sometimes it is a simple and silly typographical error. For example, I had managed to misspell Facebook as Facebok on numerous pages, and I was oblivious about this mishap for a very long time, until one day I somehow managed to spot it. There are also silly grammatical errors that I make quite regularly, such as the lack of a definite or an indefinite article and using the wrong verb tenses. This is when I realize that English is not my mother tongue, though oddly it is the language on whose basis I have learnt other languages. At other times, the sentences are so contorted and convoluted, that I don’t understand them. If I don’t understand what I have written, how could anyone else understand it? The silly thing is that I must have sounded tremendously clever to myself, when I wrote it.

In view of the preceding paragraph, it follows that I do not have problems with mistakes and infelicities in other people’s blogs or sites, so long as the text could be understood reasonably well, in that the authorial intention and argument are reasonably well-expressed. There are no editors, subs, or proof-readers, for most personal blogs and sites to point out mistakes and errors, and save the author from blemishes. There may be writers who are equally good at proof-reading and editing their own writings, but in many cases, the more pairs of eyes to look at a text, the less likely it will be riddled with errors. Even if there are no grammatical mistakes, texts can be too wooden and too heavy, thus making them harder to read and more difficult to understand. I have met a number of people who are highly intelligent but cannot express thus do justice to their intelligence in writing, which is a shame, and it must be frustrating.

It always seems that writing is an imperfect transposition of what is in my head onto paper literally and metaphorically, through the medium of language. There is imperfection in every stage of this process. My thoughts in my head are not perfect, as they are often muddled. Usually, that is the problem with me. The language may not be able to express perfectly the perfectly clear thoughts in my head. Even if the language is blameless, my ability to use it is riddled with faults. But because it somehow makes sense in my head, I assume that whatever that ends up expressed in the written language is a good, or at least comprehensible, approximation of what I was thinking. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many cases. Yet, despite the faults and however sketchy its contours, an attempt is worthwhile, even if it can be characterized as better than none.