This post was inspired by a media friend who spotted an error in a mainstream newspaper – an article about students buying “viles of drugs from overseas” – confusing the words vial and vile.
I argue that many people who still read newspapers – dead-tree papers or online versions – know and care about reporters using the correct words.
I understand that smart, young reporters are skilled in so many ways that previous generations of journalists were not.
Yet many young writers do not know the difference between similar words – vial/vile, peer/pier, piece/peace and even weather/whether.
To be fair – I don’t know the age of the person who made the VILE/VIAL error. It could have been an older writer!
I just know that I often need to help younger reporters remember the correct words to use. They were not taught what previous reporters were taught as “the basics”.
I still argue that – for business and credibility reasons – it’s worth educating writers (younger and older) in how to choose the correct words from confusing sound-alike or look-alike words.
A friend of mine developed a visual learning resource to help her daughter who had a learning challenge.
She used the “memorable grossness” of stepping in Elephant poo to convey the meaning of VILE.
So remember – the Elephant poo version is with VILE with the E!
I remember “the other vial” – by remembering it as a smAll, nArrow contAiner.
If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:
If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.
I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.
Linked In – under Tony Biancotti