Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Even Pulitzer-winning writers misspell mantel

It's got to be one of the most misspelled words in the English language. So we won't be too hard on

Cassandra King
memoirist and Pulitzer-winning journalist Rick Bragg for using the wrong "mantle" in his foreword to Cassandra King's (that's Pat Conroy's wife Sandra Conroy) "The Same Sweet Girls' Guide to Life: Advice from a Failed Southern Belle"  (Maiden Lane Press, $15).

"The writing business is lousy with gentlemen, the way chiggers are prolific in Johnson grass," Bragg writes. "I was just a Southern man, without a title or an old name, or a passed-down Confederate saber to hang over my mantle."

Exactly why you can't always trust spell-check. The "mantle"  Bragg uses is, of course, a cape. The "mantel" he intended is the one over the fireplace. Easy way to remember: The mantel is a shelf. Both words contain the letters "el."

On a happier note, King concludes the Guide's acknowledgments with a shout-out to Conroy.

 "And to the wind beneath my wings," she writes, "the long-suffering Pat Conroy, who shares his life with a failed belle. Just remember there are worse fates."


Anonymous said...

Another one: impostor.

William Teal said...

The words 'There', and 'Their' are often interposed.

Anonymous said...

"Affect" vs. "Effect". More often wrong than (w)right.

Anonymous said...

Is this article supposed to serve as an excuse for the numerous grammatical and spelling errors we see in the online Observer every day?

Michael Solender said...

'Accept' & 'Except' are my favorites and trip me up to this day even though I know better. Always a pleasure to read your work Dannye - need to see you on the page more!!