I made a word usage error on my Facebook post yesterday. Arghh! I wrote, “Even if I was a Democrat, I would not vote for those robo-callers.” During election season, we receive several recorded calls a week that promote political candidates, usually Democrats since Republicans have little impact on the greater Seattle area. Those calls are very annoying. They fill up the answering machine, and they don’t allow you to opt out. Later that day and right in the middle of a conversation with Dennis, I suddenly realized the awful possibility that I had made a mistake! Today I fessed-up by commenting on my own post. I had ignored the subjective mood. My post should have read, “Even if I were a Democrat . . .” According to Grammar Girl, the subjective mood is used if you’re talking about something that isn’t true or you’re being wishful. (Guess which option applies to me.)
I sense that Muphry’s Law is in effect here. John Bangsund of the Society of Editors in Australia outlined Muphry’s Law as follows:
(a) If you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written.
(b) If an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book.
(c) The stronger the sentiment expressed in (a) and (b), the greater the fault.
(d) Any book devoted to editing or style will be internally inconsistent.
I suggest that the following be added:
(e) If you purport yourself to be an editor or proofreader, your public comments should be free of subjunctive mood errors.
Anyway, my own mistake bolsters my own mantra–everyone needs an editor.