Grammar

Marshall or Marital? When a Typo Correction Makes it Worse

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A Florida politician should learn to avoid tweeting in anger, especially after his typo correction turned one mistake into two.

Poor Marco Rubio made a typo correction this week but only caught more flak.

His original tweet, posted at 10:04 a.m. Monday, read, “Please stop spreading stupid rumors about marshall law. COMPLETELY FALSE. We will continue to see closings & restrictions on hours of non-essential businesses in certain cities & states. But that is NOT marshall law.”

Ordinarily, everyone might applaud a leader who’d want to set the record straight. We’d applaud people trying to stop false rumors and fake news.

But in this case, he didn’t catch his typo before posting it. At some point, hours later, he either noticed or someone told him about it.

So he posted this correction as a retweet of the original: “I apologize for the typo. I meant to type stupid rumors about marital law not marshall law. My bad.”

Double oops!

No, he didn’t mean marital, either.

His original tweet contained marshall, which is either a person’s name that means “horse servant” or a Scottish surname that means “lover of horses.”

A marshal can be “a person who arranges and directs the ceremonial aspects of a gathering,” as in a parade’s grand marshal. It can also mean “a general officer of the highest military rank.” We also know it from law enforcement as “an officer having charge of prisoners,” “an officer appointed for a judicial district to execute the process of the courts and perform various duties similar to those of a sheriff,” “a city law officer entrusted with particular duties,” or “the administrative head of a city police department or fire department.”

His follow-up tweet used the word marital, which refers to marriage.

He meant to say martial, which, when used with law, means “the law administered by military forces that is invoked by a government in an emergency when the civilian law enforcement agencies are unable to maintain public order and safety.”

Sure, we all know what he meant. But social media isn’t exactly kind when it comes to that kind of thing.

“Bro you should have quit while you were ahead,” one Twitter user responded.

“Who corrects a typo with another typo?” another posted with all caps and a string of exclamation points and question marks.

I haven’t seen a second correction so far. So maybe he decided to quit while he was still behind.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.