Faute grave 1: Is There an Upside?

Faute grave

By ArséniureDeGallium (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Ever try to conjugate a noun in French by mistake? Better hope it flies under the radar of Sylvain Szewczyk, founder of Bescherelle ta mère. Les fautes d’orthographe he posts on his wildly popular Facebook page or in his Tweets are simultaneously funny and cringe-making. The irreverent offspring of Bescherelle, a spelling and grammar series named in honor of the 19th century French grammarian Louis-Nicolas Bescherelle, Szewczyk’s crusade seems to have been conceived as a remonstration to spelling and grammar errors in the media, with television crawls being a special target. But not even the dead are safe, as language aficionados submit their personal faves.

What would Szewczyk have done with the blooper on our home page? A desert is never a dessert, especially when it’s an entrée into language. Big shout-out to my friend Colleen for alerting me to a faute de frappe on our website that has since been corrected. In my embarrassment, I muttered an expression I haven’t used, or heard, for a long time — oh, la vache! The good news is that my gaffe introduced us to Anne Stark Ditmeyer’s fantastic website, Prêt à Voyager, which is going straight to our links page.

— Linda

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