Common Errors in English

Common Errors in English

Nice little site that lists hundreds of common language errors, including some lesser-known common mistakes. It also aims to confirm usages that the pedants are normally ‘correcting’:

Till vs ’til

Since it looks like an abbreviation for “until,” some people argue that this word should always be spelled “’til” (though not all insist on the apostrophe). However, “till” has regularly occurred as a spelling of this word for over 800 years and it’s actually older than “until.” It is perfectly good English.

Wiki clicking

Sometimes Wikipedia can be an utterly absorbing website. After reading a bit about the phrase “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” (did you know it’s a grammatically correct sentence?), I ended up at the article on John Cage‘s famous piece 4’33”, which saw its first major performance in 1952 by David Tudor in New York. He played it on a piano, although naturally most instruments will work just fine.

From there I discovered that you can download the piece in (amongst others) MIDI format… great.

Finally, on to Uncyclopedia* for an alternative view of things. Apparently, “Several remixes of 4’33” have been produced, including one in 7.1 surround sound, and the extended dance remix, 9’42”.” – fascinating 🙂

Buffalo… link found via Simon Willison

* If you weren’t aware, Uncyclopedia is a parody of Wikipedia. Where Wikipedia might not always be correct, Uncyclopedia goes out of its way to tell nothing but lies 😉

Surveying Van in the UK

Seen today on the A27 in Portsmouth: a white American (I think) van with “Surveying” written on the front and a LOT of external gadgets and antennae. I’d love to think they’re doing Google Street View UK. Didn’t see anything that looked specifically like a set of cameras on top, although there was a large unit housing something or other on the roof. Unfortunately my view was limited to glances in the rear view mirror while trying to get through the roadworks and narrow lanes, and it turned off onto Eastern Road. In all probability it was a private survey using expensive imported kit, but it’s nice to think that my grotty old Passat might one day make its way onto Google Maps.