Sunday, March 27, 2011

To Err is Human

I love mistakes. I always told my students that mistakes are good; we always learn more from our errors, faults, and slip-ups than from being right. I tried not to come down hard on anyone who gave a wrong answer. Any confusion, mix-up, misinterpretation or inaccuracy was just another teaching tool. Better to make a goof now than on the test. Don’t we all learn best from our blunders, gaffes and misinterpretations? Remember that embarrassing moment? That time you were humiliated? I’ll bet you learned not to repeat that faux pas.

There’s a reason we have so many words for being wrong, words like imprecision, inexactness, erroneousness, incorrectness, oversight, slip, misunderstanding, misconstruction, fallacy, misapprehension, and miscalculation, not to mention the thirteen synonyms I used before I got to this sentence. The reason is . . . we’re not perfect. You’ll find far fewer synonyms for right.

But wait, there’s more. I particularly like blunder, bungle and boo-boo. But my new favorite word for stupid mistake is “howler”.

(Please let me know if you found anything that I messed up in this post. I really didn’t want to botch it up.)