Saturday, September 25, 2004

No job too small

I see more frequent and more exotic homonym errors than I used to. Maybe the most surprising so far is pros for prose. But sometimes even a familiar error stands out for sheer improbability:

“No job to small.”
That’s the motto (in large bold print) on an advertising flyer for a home handyman. My dad received it in the mail and sent it to me recently, sans comment. He knew I’d catch his point.

I’m not one of those people who equate proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation habits with something akin to moral superiority, priding themselves on their rectitude and looking down their noses at everyone else. I do believe though that spelling counts. There could be many reasons why the flyer quoted above came out wrong, and the guy who sent it out might be an ace of home repair. But reader, if you didn’t already know that, would “No job to small” persuade you to call him? Does his presentation inspire confidence?

A memory: Before my dad retired as a ceramic tile contractor, he received countless compliments from his customers, not only on his tile work but also on the care with which he prepared his written estimates. Truly, no job is too small to do right, and that includes spelling.

[Note: “No job to small” seems to be a remarkably common mistake. A Google search just turned up 5,950 hits. “No job too small” turned up 34,900 hits. And Leddy Ceramic Tile will now turn up at least one.]

comments: 2

Anonymous said...

Here is what your apostrophes look like on my screen: That’s the motto

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for pointing this out, though I'm not sure why it would look that way--I see it looking ok on several machines, and with three different browsers. What are you using?

Not long after starting my blog, I gave up on the semi-tedious job of getting "smart" quotation marks and apostrophes in html, as you can see from this comment.