Monday, February 7, 2011

To Correct or Not to Correct

That sure is the question. The other day I was having a work related phone conversation and the woman was giving me her email.

She said, “Blah blah blah ampersand blah dot com.”

Hold up. I’ve never heard of & being in an email address.

“Ampersand?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said. “You know…the little a in the swirl thing.”

Whoa. This is the moment of truth. Do I tell her that the @ symbol is not an ampersand?

So what did I do? I just said. “Oh, okay.” And let it go.

In retrospect, should I have said something? She probably gives out her email a thousand time a day and either is wrongly informing people that this @ is an ampersand or has a bunch of people think she’s an idiot. I’m one of those people who appreciates (to a certain extend) being corrected when I misuse or mispronounce a word, but I know to the general populace this is seen as obnoxious.

What would you have done?

24 comments:

  1. Eek! This type of thing is so hard for me so I'm afraid I don't have an answer for you. THough I would want to be corrected and probably wouldn't find it obnoxious unless the person did it in an obnoxious way, I'm not sure I could actually correct someone. Ack!

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  2. I know...I feel guilty that I didn't, but at the same time, not everyone likes to be corrected on stuff like that. I remember in college I kept saying espresso like there was an x in it (expresso) and no one corrected me for like two years...then I felt like an even bigger dumbass for saying it that way for so long. :)

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  3. I have a golden rule when it comes to such a problem. If I know somebody rather well I always correct. People who know me are also aware that I do that for their own sake because I am their friend and I don't want them to repeat idiotic mistakes over and over again. I would be furious if a friend, hearing me making a mistake and knowing the right version, didn't correct me on the spot or as soon as possible.

    If I don't know somebody well I don't correct. Some people react very badly to even the slightest form of criticizm expressed in the most polite way by a stranger and you never know who you are speaking to. I have been burnt and I don't want to repeat that experience.

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  4. That's a tough call. Personally, I would want to know if I'm doing something wrong. True, I'd be embarrassed about it, but I won't make the mistake again.

    Then again, some people will get really upset over being corrected.

    I'm like you. I probably wouldn't have said anything and felt guilty about it later on.

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  5. Hmm, slightly awkward. I think I have the same instincts that you had here, where I would have just let it go and then wondered about it later. Hopefully she'll learn sooner or later :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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  6. For me, it depends on how well I know the person...if I have some idea of how the person will take it and what tone to use (humorous, questioning, etc) then I'll say something.

    I also find a self-deprecating approach works best with most people. "I thought that meant...but I could be wrong."

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  7. I probably would have said, "Oh, I always thought that was called the at symbol and the 's' shaped thing was an ampersand." Or something like that. But you're right-- it is a tough call, especially if it is someone you don't know well.

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  8. I'd definitely tell her. Because although we may run around in a literary-blog-world where people know what an ampersand is (or can look it up online without revealing ourselves...), 20 bucks says next time she tells someone her email, they're not going to know.

    And they'll think, "Oh THAT'S what it's called! I'll sound smarter if I use that word for it..." and it will spread like the plague.

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  9. I wouldn't correct. Of course, any sort of "confrontation", especially with strangers, makes me dizzy. True story.

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  10. Well I'm afraid, "Oh, the at symbol", would just have popped out of my mouth. Not in a sarcastic way but like a light bulb moment of understanding.

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  11. I wouldn't even have thought about it. I'd have just been like oh, the at symbol (just like Holly)/ I'm a blurter and brutally honest...it gets me in trouble sometimes but thats the truth.

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  12. I'd say: "Oh, you mean the 'at' symbol" and wing it from there.

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  13. I'd tell my friend, but not a business associate, I guess. Just awkward all around.

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  14. If you are closer to a business associate, then tell the person. But if the person might act totes annoyed, then let it go. Maybe someone closer to her will tell her?

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  15. I wouldn't have corrected in that situation, but if it was someone I knew? I'd point and make fun of them after correcting away.
    : )

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  16. That is a hard question. For me it would depend on who I was talking to. This is what they mean by "between a rock and a hard place". Either choice is not good.

    Thanks for coming by my site.

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  17. Well, I would have totally said something but I always say things at the WRONG time so it is kind of my M.O. BTW, happy to have found your blog! I love Scotland and chocolate too.

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  18. Sheesh, that's tough. I probably would have done the same as you. Maybe someone who knows her more personally will clear it up one day. Oh well.

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  19. I'd do the same as Liesl or let someone who is confused by the email address it someday.

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  20. Wow. I would have wanted to know, too, but I'm pretty sure I would have done the same thing as you.

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  21. I would want someone to tell me, but I probably wouldn't have said anything to her either.

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  22. Thanks for the comments everyone...

    If she was a friend I definitely would have said something. I once corrected someone in college who kept saying half-hazardly and she was very grateful...people you don't know are a bit trickier.

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  23. I probably would only say something if it was someone I knew...

    Ampersand, incidentally, is also the name of a monkey in a graphic novel called Y The Last Man.

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  24. I love Y: The Last Man...Yorick also had to explain to a lot of people what an ampersand was.

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