We’ve seen it time and time again, those photos of tattoos spelling out a favorite phrase or statement of empowerment, a fond memory or an expression of love—and right there, big as life and skin deep is a spelling error. Unfortunate? Of course, but what may be worse is there is no magic eraser to fix such a flub once it’s set in skin. Sometimes, a bit of artistic flair can correct or cover up the problem, but often it’s just not possible. Good advice in this area, should you be planning on acquiring some verbiage-as-body-art, is to check and double-check the phrase you plan to use for grammatical correctness. You may think “so what?” but nothing will discount your message to the world and take its significance away more quickly than wrong or misspelled words. “But it has meaning for me no matter how it’s spelled” can sound like a worthy defense, but you run the risk of discrediting yourself as well as your tat if you take such an approach.
This goes farther than knowing the difference between your and you’re. If you are inking your body with a permanent strand of words, it shows forethought and a serious dedication to the meaning of those words if you bother to make sure they are correct. Your artist can help you, but don’t put the responsibility entirely on them, either. They are often more intent on inking exactly what you have given them and making it look good than they are watching the content letter for letter. If you give them “there” instead of “their” you are going to get “there.” What will follow will be readers of your tat who believe you don’t give a rip about what your skin in saying. “Let ‘em” you might say, but the truth of the matter is tattoos are a form of social communication. They may have personal significance for you, but they are out there for the world to see. You want your ink to incite awe, not snickers.
The best places to check if you are unsure you’re using the correct words and spellings? The source where your quote was first found is a good start if it is from a book or movie—but avoid using the internet. Web pages are rife with misused words and wrong spellings. The one alternative to this would be online dictionaries, or academic quote sites, but the internet at large is a risky place to assure yourself that spelling and usage are correct. Ask a friend who is proficient in English. Or if you must rely on the World Wide Web, check the phrase in a number of places to see if all of them match. If there is a difference in word use or spelling between the different places you find it, then you will need to figure out which one is correct.
Your tattoos can tell a story, or tell the world what type of person you are. They are a part of the very fiber which makes you up. Why wouldn’t you want to be sure they also say you are wise enough and careful enough to get those tats spelled right.