Dear Miss Manners: Lately, I've come across a large number of typos online: e.g. restaurant menus, sites for housecleaning services, etc. Most of them are obvious spelling errors (e.g. "claning" instead of "cleaning"), but occasionally it's a poor choice of words that makes it very difficult to understand the intended message.
I have, on occasion, made silly errors as well -- for instance, my phone number was incorrect on my resume for years. I'd like to point out the errors, but understand that if the business is a labor of love, the owner might be insulted. How can I provide this feedback without upsetting the recipients?
By treading carefully. Miss Manners does not want to make assumptions, but is it possible that some of the authors of these websites are not native English speakers? While they may ultimately benefit from your help, they are not soliciting it. And you are not their employer.
However, that could change. If you feel so moved and are interested in their services, you could send them a direct message saying, “I am seeking a house cleaner, but did not quite understand this listing. Do you mind clarifying what comes with the ‘three-hour Poopie Package’?”
Dear Miss Manners: What's your opinion about a man who invites you to a relaxing weekend getaway, but expects you to pay for gas and meals?
That it will not be relaxing.
Dear Miss Manners: At long last, my nephew is getting married to the woman with whom he has been living for nearly 10 years. They share a young son, and she has a daughter.
The details of the upcoming nuptials, as related by his father, my brother, are sketchy at best. The ceremony may involve little more than an impromptu visit to City Hall, with no friends or family. Apparently, taxes and health insurance are the main motivations behind this move.
Unfortunately, my brother has been very sensitive about the couple's long-term living arrangement. He says his son has met with snide remarks from some family members over the years, while other nieces and nephews who married in a more timely order were treated more respectfully. With his son's impending marriage, my brother has served notice to one and all that the soon-to-be married couple shall be given congratulations and wedding gifts, and that he's keeping track of who does so.
How do I tactfully offer the couple my congratulations on an event about which I have no details whatsoever and then send a gift with a note reading, "... and please let your father know that I sent this"?
Having successfully scared you into compliance, your brother will no doubt have tracking methods already in place. Miss Manners recommends that you send your present with a congratulatory note saying, “Gerald has told us of the impending happy occasion. We wish you, your fiancee and the children all of our heartfelt best wishes.”
New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.