Oh Microsoft, why do you vex me so?

My wonderful proof readers have challenged my quirky use of the word “aint” in the text of my new short story.  Because it is slang, and I only use it in dialogue, I made a choice to spell it without the apostrophe, aint.  I thought it might make the text interesting.  However, their eagle eyes all called attention to it.  One rule of writing is that the spelling and word usage should never be a distraction so I opted to follow their advice and change it to the more accepted “ain’t” with the apostrophe.

When I did this, I used the FIND/REPLACE option in the editing of Microsoft Word.  That should make it very easy, right?

Not really.

The stupid software turned maintenance into main’tenance, which is a word that appeared in the text more than the word “ain’t.”  Therefore, by trying to take the easy road, I only made more work for myself.

Ugh.  Stupid Microsoft.



I’ve been wrong for over 30 years.

I know, it seems impossible, but I have been.  I learned about my wrongness on Friday while blogging, of all things.

The problem is that I didn’t know I was about to learn something because I thought I already knew it.  I hate when I think I know the right answer and then come-to-find-out I was wrong all the while.  It wasn’t something controversial or some stance I took on an issue–it was just a fact I thought I knew wasn’t a fact.  Apparently on this one I’ve been wrong for over 30 years.

Friday I Posted a clever (okay, I thought it was clever) blog about weather and rain called the Umbrella Dilemma.  Now, when  I was writing the post I wrote it as The Umbrella Dilemna.  Notice the “N” in there?  I kept getting this squiggly line and the irksome auto-correct was changing it for me.  I fought this and even went ahead and posted it with the original spelling:  D I L E M N A.  I did this because I was sure that was the way to spell it.

That is the way I learned to spell it anyway.  That is the way I have always spelled that word that means faced with two options and not knowing which is the correct path.

The problem is, after I made the original post, my curiosity got the better of me and I did a little dictionary work and a little rooting around and wouldn’t you know it–I was wrong.  The correct spelling is, and always has been D I L E M M A..

Wow.  Apparently I am not the only one who has had this issue.  Consider this bit of brilliant blogging by The Grammar Girl:

I was taught the wrong spelling in school, and when I got older and checked a dictionary, I was shocked to find that the word is spelled “dilemma.” Further, the only correct spelling is “dilemma.” It’s not as if “dilemna” is a substandard variant or regional spelling. Dictionaries often note alternative spellings and sometimes even nonstandard spellings, but “dilemna” doesn’t even show up that way.

She goes on to explain the Greek origins of Di-Lemma.  Now, as a pretty confident student of Biblical Greek, I have a lot of egg on my face.  I guess it is good now to get the facts straight on this unsettling dilemma.

I’m curious, does anyone out there have a similar word that they learned they’d been spelling wrong?  I’d like to know because now that the whole Pandora’s box of words I might not even know I’m misspelling is opened, who knows what else I’m wrong about.