Do wordsmiths annoy you? Do they correct you in public? Do they show you mistakes in publications? Are they esoteric and arrogant elitists? Do they affect to be superior?

The answer to these questions is “no.” They are often English and/or foreign language teachers. Wordsmiths had smart language teachers who taught them well. They are satisfied with their knowing the correct use of the English language.

Wordsmiths have no interest in embarrassing the populace. Suppose you were to say, “Who you gonna go to the game with?” They will not scold you and insist on your saying, “With whom are you going to the game?”

Wordsmiths accept the fact that you do not know correct uses for the apostrophe, the spelling of “cemetery,” that “alot” does not exist, the difference between “i.e.” and “e.g.” and that “between you and I” is incorrect.

On the other hand, wordsmiths feel an obligation to point out mistakes on public venues. For example, the plaque in Fort Allen Park that glorifies the valor of “The Arctic Campaign 1941-45” has 14 mistakes.

Also, a bench on the Eastern Promenade has a spin-off from Julius Caesar’s “veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”). The Prom tablet reads “vini, vidi, amavi.” The intent is a cute “I came, I saw, I loved,” but “vini” means “of wine.”

Finally, Portland’s tribute to John Ford’s “How Green Was My Valley” reads: “Ford’s choreographed scenes, choral background music and ritualized depiction of family loss and social change in modern industrial age was superb.” Do you notice the mistake in subject-verb agreement? The “was” should be “were.”

Wordsmiths have a New Year’s resolution for all: Read and understand this poem by Emily Dickinson:

“A word is dead

“When it is said

“Some say.

“I say

“It just begins

“To live another day.”

Morton G. Soule

Portland