The Importance of Editing: One Typo May Have Led to Leak of Thousands of Clinton Campaign Emails


Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta received an email back in March 2016 that claimed  to be from Google and asked him to change his password.  Suspecting the email could be a phishing scam, a staffer sent it on to computer technician Charles Delavan and asked him to evaluate.  Delavan  responded “This is a legitimate email,  John needs to change his password immediately.”  Unfortunately, Delavan’s “legitimate” was a typo and should have read “illegimate.”  Delavan meant that the email was illegimate and Podesta should change his email password at the Google email site,  not to click on the link in the message.  Clicking on the link in the bogus email apparently  opened thousands of Podesta’s emails to Russian hackers.

The New York Times discovered the typo in its investigation of how the Clinton Campaign email hack happened.

A discussion of this typo, which had such serius consequesces, could remind students that it is easy to overlook typos in words that conven even the most critical parts of a text.




Why Is It “Socrates’s Deathbed” but “Dickens’s Novels?”


The rules for plurals of names are basically the same as for the plurals of other nouns–that regrdless of the last letter in the noun, you add “‘s.”  Thus, you have the “Smiths’s car” or “Fernandezes’ house.”

However, for classical and biblical names ending in s or es, you usually just add an apostrophe. If the name is only one syllable, add -‘s. The Merriam-Webster blog gives three examples:  Socrates’ students, Ramses’ kingdom, Amos’ prophecy.  It also  details everyting you need to know about creating plural and possessive nouns.

See the dictionary’s blog for illustrations and examples, along with visuals, for thorny grammatical rules.