Microsoft English and Mercury’s Retrograde

Microsoft English and Mercury’s Retrograde

Working through some of my own material, I was looking at the construction. Tools, in effect, what I used, and what I use now. How those tools affect what I’m working on, and with — what I’m working with.

Distant recollection? It was Microsoft Word 6, came on a set of floppy “install” disks, maybe a total of 30 disks. Seems about right. That was just, in my mind, the professional grade writer’s tool — in that era (pre Y2K). With its active grammar and spelling checker, it was the first of the real tools that helped take lame material and tried to tame it, make it less incorrect. Subvert the impossible mistakes.

Microsoft English and Mercury’s Retrograde

As a singular example, and for years, “Microsoft Word Format” was the designated version that copy editors wanted, for books, or, in my example, the weekly column. It was turned in both formats, text and MS Word.

One of the copy editors, bless her heart, it was easy enough to see that she used the MS Word prompts. No judgment, as she also looked up the weird quotes, and fact-checked most of my material.

In a dozen years, there were only a few questions, one about a quote I incorrectly attributed, and one about the name of a fishing lure. That’s what I recall.

Mercury in Gatorade

But the big problem with MS Word English, as spelled out by its built-in grammar checking software?

It’s not Scorpios, it’s Scorpio’s. Perfect example of how the tools — Microsoft English — dictate our current usage.

Incorrect use of the apostrophe, indicates ownership rather than plural. The stipulated style sheet, at the time, hewed to that convention, and Microsoft English became a web-standard.

Microsoft English might be the current web standard.

Microsoft English and Mercury’s Retrograde

In recent years, I’ve made an effort to start a more realistic, and grammatically correct, style sheet — at least as far as my own volume of work is concerned.

I can’t fix Mercury in Retrograde, nor am I willing to address decades of bad grammar in my previous works.

But I can move forward and stick to the real way to spell, eschewing that old-school, OG Microsoft English.

Portable Mercury Retrograde
If only there was a primer for Mercury’s Retrograde — The Portable Mercury Retrograde.

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Portable Mercury Retrograde:’s Mercury in Retrograde

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