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Raveled sleave of care

Posted by Pedant's Nemesis on June 28, 2000

In Reply to: Raveled sleave of care posted by Scholar's Defender on June 28, 2000

: : : From the archives of the Columbia Journalism School online, Language Corner. Brush Up Your Shakespeare, Act III, Raveled Sleave, with an "A."

: : : Find the misspelling: "Sleep, as Shakespeare wrote, knits up the raveled sleeve of care." No, not "raveled," though it can be spelled differently. The error, a very frequent one, is "sleeve." Macbeth wasn't talking about the arm of a garment; it wouldn't really make sense. He was talking about a tangled skein, of silk or other material, which makes perfect sense. And for that, the spelling -- which the original author used, correctly - is "sleave." It's an obsolete word now, but spelling it right is still the way to go. Many readers may dismiss it as just another typo (a NEXIS search shows it's a frequent typo for "sleeve"), but those who know better will smile.

: : With that superior smile that oft plays about the lips of those who know a lot about very little and whose boundaries are set by a myopic imagination uncorrected by any spark of intellect or investigation.

: Pot, meet kettle.

No, I realize you're not a pedant. I was referring to the superior smug attitude of those who would derive internalized pleasure from the misspelling of a word that hasn't been in everyday use for 100's of years. There is a word, which describes those who bombard others with clichés, but I can't quite bring it to mind.