Sunday, December 5, 2010

Prophets Without Spell Check?

During the season of Advent, when Old Testament prophets loom large in liturgical readings, it seems appropriate to bring up the subject of what prophets do…and why we cannot spell it right. Today's "bah, humbug" is the confusion between "prophesy" and "prophecy."

Check out this example I culled from post-election reading: "Huffington Post scribbler Frank Schaeffer reveals that Americans voted Republican not only because of unemployment or skepticism of the health care bill, but also because they believe in biblical “End Times” prophesies."

Arghhh! Wrong, dog breath, as Karnak used to say. That should be "prophecies." This mistake is becoming epidemic, and there is no CDC for such outbreaks. It's up to you and me to stamp out this troubling trend. The good news is that this spelling error is easy to correct. All you need to know is "prophesy" is a verb and "prophecy" is a noun. Need something more? How about "prophesy" is pronounced "proff-eh-sigh" and "sigh" starts with an "s." Easy peasy.

Let's get this straightened out now, because I'm afraid if the epidemic continues unabated, the Word Crank may take on the demeanor of one of those Old Testament prophets. That should scare all of us.

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