This article by Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsburg caught my eye. When the author’s friend became a grandfather he told everyone that he had become an einekel, Yiddish for grandchild, instead of a zeidy, Yiddish for Grandpa. No one corrected him, including the writer, until the grandfather had told possibly hundreds of people. He then asked the writer to spread the word about the importance of correcting people.
This made me feel good because I often find myself correcting others. As I wrote here, I started young and the trait seems to run in the family.
In college, my English professor was once talking about poetry. He said that sometimes seemingly unimportant elements of a passage are emphasized, and gave the example of the Bible. “In the Bible,” he said, “insignificant words are put in italics.” I explained to him that some biblical translations italicize words that don’t appear in the original Hebrew like “is” and “the.” (This site gives examples from the King James translation of Psalms. Apparently some fundamentalist Christians take issue with the additions.) I realized my comment might embarrass him, but felt it was more important not to leave the other students with the misinformation. I did make the correction directly and respectfully, as recommended in the article, and I hope he forgave me.
Occasionally I correct my fellow bloggers, most often by email. If you have been a recipient of my constructive criticism, consider it a compliment. I only go to the trouble if I think the blogger would care, since I have enough editing and fact-checking to do for my own writing — I continue to find errors in my older posts.
Like most people I don’t enjoy being corrected, but I still prefer to find out about my mistakes in order to improve myself and so as not to (continue) look(ing) ignorant.