Favorite Misspellings

What’s your favorite common misspelling? Mine is “lightening” when the writer means “lightning.” The visual implications of “lightening guns” alone give me the chuckles.

I have plenty of pet peeves about spelling and usage, but I try my best to let go of them. One that still makes me wince is the use of “yourself” instead of “you” when a server asks for your order. The construction used to make sense in the more sexist world in which the man ordered for the woman in restaurants, but now it’s just affected and illogical.

But enough of peeves. What’s one of the misspellings that amuses you?


8 thoughts on “Favorite Misspellings

  1. Funny story: my wife is very shy and prefers that I order for her. Still makes me feel like I appear as a sexist jerk to any outside viewer.

  2. Please tell me what exactly it is that offends you about the use of the term “Yourself”. You reference restaurant ordering, but I can’t make sense of your comment.
    How is “yourself” suddenly useless as a distinction of identity?. How is it good enough for Shakespeare and Milton, but you find yourself [/irony] gritting your teeth over its use?.

    • It’s not the word but the usage that makes me wince.

      In decades past, when a man and woman visited a restaurant, the waiter would address only the man, who would first order for the woman and then order for himself. Thus, the waiter was asking two questions: “What would you like to order for the lady?” before “And (what would you like to order) for yourself?”

      These days the waiter or waitress speaks to each diner in turn, so the question he or she is asking is, “What can I bring you?” There’s no question of ordering for the person beside you and then “for yourself.” I suppose you could argue that servers are asking everyone, “What would you like to order for yourself?” but that’s pretty tortured. The truth is that they’ve remembered the phrase for its politeness, forgetting the logic of the construction.

      For another example of a phrase that endures beyond its own logic, some use the construction “my friend and I” even when they should use “my friend and me.” The lesson they’ve retained is that one should place oneself second out of politeness. But unfortunately they forget to change the “I” or “me” depending on whether the phrase is the subject or object of the sentence. Thus, it’s correct to say or write, “My friend and I ordered dinner,” but not “The waiter delivered the food to my friend and I.” The latter should be “to my friend and me.”

      In either event, “yourself” doesn’t offend me. It’s a perfectly cromulent word. 🙂

      • Aha. I thank you for explaining what you were about, and I learnt something too, so thank you again.

        It is decades or multiples of decades maybe, since any serving person asked the man what his companion at table would be eating, in my country. Wouldn’t be surprised if it stopped happening 30 years ago.

  3. A lot of ladies like it when, if you know what they prefer, you order for them in places that are unfamiliar. It’s a very alpha move, and my wife responds every time. I tend to engage the waiter first, though, and order for her, my three kids, and then myself. In times past, it wasn’t just polite to order for the lady of your party, it was improper to address a woman directly if you weren’t related to her in some way, especially one in the company of a man who might take offense. Strange people (especially men) coming up to my wife and asking her questions makes her uncomfortable, so the restaurant is just one more place I step between her and the person trying to engage her when she gets that slightly panicked look in her eyes.

    I get “…and yourself?” directed at me a lot.

  4. I love it when authors put further instead of farther. I can never decide if it’s actually a mistake or if they’re trying to make some profound metaphorical statement.

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