What do you do when you make a big fat typo in an email? Blush and own it? This cannot be right — usually, least said soonest mended, surely? Well, yesterday I put my foot in it good and proper.
In 2008 I helped to establish a group called Plain English Power, and we worked hard for our goals. Eight years on, we have closed this group for various reasons. So I sent an email advising our mailing group.
Easier said than done! The software I was using refused to let me send myself a test email, fix the problems, then send a corrected version to our members. Nope: each time I had to start all over again, so it was untestable. After three attempts I got fed up and just sent the message to everybody.
And hey, the message went out to this group of hundreds of editors, proofreaders, grammarians, professors, lawyers and legislators — all experts in clear, correct business and legal writing — with this memorable subject line:
Closoing the Plain English Power group
Aaargh! I took a deep breath and hurriedly sent out a second newsletter. Here it is.
One last typo for your delectation
Yes, our final email was called Closoing the Plain English Power group.
As a poet, I love this new onomatopoeic word, closoing.
As a plain language advocate, I deplore such carelessness.
As a disclaimer, I blame a technology problem.
As a vicar’s daughter, I say Sorry, my fault!
And as a visionary, I see this as one last message from the universe:
Just because Plain English Power is now defunct, don’t take your eye off the ball!
What would you have done?
P.S. You can see Plain English Power’s old, hand-crafted website for a little longer, until the domain dies.
Image from page 607 of “Annual report of the Bureau of ethnology to the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution ..” (1881) via Internet Archive Book Images