A Key Rite Of Passage? Learning The Right Spelling

A Key Rite Of Passage? Learning The Right Spelling

Modern society might have eschewed some of the more extreme rites of passage associated with tribal cultures, but the concept remains important in many groups. Something else that’s important? Using the correct spelling, rather than inaccurately writing ‘rights of passage’.

Rites of passage picture from Shutterstock (Daniel J Rao)

I was reminded of this common error when it popped up in a press release issued by Network Ten to announce the retirement of Melbourne newsreader Mal Walden and his replacement by Stephen Quartermain. Walden was quoted as saying:

We have both shared the same rights of passage through those years and the same passion for journalism.

This error wasn’t picked up by Channel Ten’s PR department before the statement was issued, and as a result it showed up on numerous news sites quoting from the release (TV Tonight, Mumbrella, Television.au and the Australian for starters).

If I had spotted that mistake in a release I was going to quote from, I would silently correct it. Using the right version in the first place would be even better. Accuracy matters.

Lifehacker’s Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


  • I was wondering if I was the only one left who cared about spelling, punctuation, and the use of the right word (synonyms, etc.). One of my pet peeves is “vice versa” which has been bungled many times as “visa versa”, which always makes me want to tell the person to switch to Mastercard. In spoken bunglings, I’ve heard it shortened to “vice”, with the longer ‘i’ sound, and that also gives me pause. My friends would tell me that I should ease up on my kids, that no one cares if they can spell, pronounce or punctuate correctly, but I care.

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