‘More like the rapier than the sword,’ they said of subbing, encouraging us to be sensitive to the tone and style of the original passage before weighing in with the red pen. Trouble is, the example passages we practise on are so thickly encrusted with errors you need a kind of grammatical JCB to clear away all the ‘recieves’ and ‘he practiced’ before sifting through the fulfilling stash of skillfulls (how can you be full of skill, but skilfull?). Finally we get to the really devious ones. There’s a minuscule chance that anyone without a fixation on the minuscule wouldn’t spell it ‘mini’.
It’s a low trick, giving us such rubbish copy. You feel proud of yourself for spotting ‘egg yoke’ and ‘softwear’. Then they sucker you with palette/palate/pallet.
The quiet ones are dangerous, too. ‘Tranquillity’ looks more at peace with itself as ‘tranquility’. And really, will anyone ever write ‘inoculate’ without a spell-check to keep the infectious double ‘c’ and ‘n’ at bay?