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Sometimes I wake up in the kind of mood where I sort of vaguely want to be helpful. This morning I guess was kind of like that. I got a mass email from Un Techo Para mi País, which is what Un Techo Para Chile is part of. For the non Spanish-speakers, a small lesson:

un (one, in the case where the following word is masculine, otherwise it’s una)
techo (roof, as in bajo techo can mean “indoor” or at least “shaded.”
para (one of two words for for, the other of which is por, and most native English speakers still get hives when trying to explain the difference)
mi (my, not me)
país (country)

So Un Techo Para Mi País is a nonprofit that helps to build rooves, and the houses underneath them for people who are currently sin techo (homeless, literally, roofless). It does this in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. As you may have heard, Chile has way more people living in encampments and inadequate housing than we used to, due to the 8.8 earthquake suffered on February 27th.

Un Techo Para mi País, sent out a mass email this morning with a giant, glaring, unforgiveable grammatical error.

Can you spot it?

Captura de pantalla 2010-04-16 a las 19.11.26

So I sent them a very nice email in my sweetest tone of Spanish writing, assuring them that I know I’m not a native Spanish speaker, and apologizing for any errors I may have made (and I’m sure they were various), and letting them know that there’s been a small snafu. The second sentence also reads strangely, but at least it’s not getting ten points off the grammar section.

And do you know what happened? Remember what happens when I make fun of grammatical errors, as I did here? Quick like bunnies, changes are made, and I stand around scratching my head because I wonder if I imagined it and had failed to take a screen capture (mac, command shift 3, you won’t regret it!), and then nothing.

But you know what happened here? I got a thank you, a “you’re correct” thank you for supporting our cause and a have a nice day.

I didn’t get a personalized email for the part where I “signed” a “check” (by which I mean, clicked the button on paypal), which took a bit more effort on my part, but any organization that can find it in its bureaucracy to write me a little note deserves a shout out. Plus they do good work. So if you’re wondering what to do with your tax return (or a portion thereof) when you get it, might I suggest looking for an organization that helps people with some basic needs? It may be grammatically incorrect from time to time, but winter’s a coming somewhere in the world, and we’re all just a bit shaken up at the moment.

Edited to add: and if you want to see what it looks like when glaring mistakes are published (in Spanish) by the Chilean government, give Abby’s post a read.