Conference presentations are often where language goes to die. The comment above — a direct transcript of a remark I heard at a technology event last week — certainly has the stench of linguistic death about it. Can you identify the three horrendous errors therein?
Let’s review what went wrong.
- Frontiering is not a word. No argument here. The word the speaker was looking for is pioneering.
- Learnings is meaningless corporate gabble. Lessons is clearer.
- We would not say “There’s lessons”, because that’s short for “There is lessons”. The correct phrase is “there are lessons”.
Yes, this was a spoken remark, so we shouldn’t expect perfection. But if you constantly employ sloppy habits in speech, they will emerge in your writing. Accuracy matters. Otherwise you end up like the motel in the picture, believing Disnyland is an accurate spelling.
Lifehacker’s Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.