The title of this thread is from a fantastic book I picked up a few years ago. In it a panda bear walks into a diner, has lunch, and before he goes to walk out he pulls out a gun and fires two shots in the air. When asked why he did that, the panda shrugged and tossed a badly written nature guide to the person asking the question. Under panda bear it was written: Eats, shoots and leaves.
The intent of the guide was to inform the reader that shoots and leaves are integral parts of a panda bear’s diet. But that one comma changed the panda from a peaceful and almost vegan animal full of fluff and fuzzies into a someone who lacks trigger discipline and is willing to showcase that inadequacy in public.
Where am I going with this?
I just spent 20-30 minutes going through the results of the word “Alter.” I had seen someone post something about alternate personalities. “Alter” is a shortened version of “alternate” and I have seen it used a lot in discussions on Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder), and since that was the context of what I was looking for, I went with that particular word. Unfortunately, while there were a great many posts that discussed “alters,” only a handful actually talked about the actual thing that the word is.
What was the majority? Turns out a lot of people are building “alters” when they mean to be building “altars.”
Words mean things. So when one is putting all of the effort and energy into creating and building and dedicating and consecrating an altar, it would behoove oneself to make sure you’re using the correct word especially when two different words with different meanings and contexts are pronounced nearly identically. Nearly.
But you say “Intent matters. I intended the right thing.” For that I would disagree, because if you misspelled it in here, you’ve been misspelling it in your head. You might be projecting the right intent, but it’s being shaped by the wrong word.
Like the substitute teacher from the ghetto doing roll call at the nice school (the Key & Peele skit). He’s reading the names, sounding them out. but Aaron and A-a-ron are not the same.
This isn’t a criticism of anyone. The people who post here write at a much higher level than most everywhere else on the internet, and even if I weren’t interested in studying this stuff I’d still come back due to the quality of the forums and writings. It’s just one of those little things that gets overlooked, and I wanted to put it out here in case it does actually help.