Tag Archives: common spelling errors

Are Spelling and Grammar Obsolete?

Am I being too critical? Do you react like I do to blatant spelling errors? Do they spoil messages for you?

Glaring grammar and spelling errors distract me. Yesterday I received an email from somebody asking me to help him find an “inverstor” because he’s had “alot” of interest and he “truely” believes he could go “worlwide.”  I notice when somebody uses “then” for “than” or “your” for “you’re.” I notice apostrophe errors like adding an apostrophe for every plural noun. I notice common spelling errors like “seperate,” and “definately.” Those errors interfere with the message. I was less likely to answer than I would have been if the message had been corrected.

What bothers me is:

  1. I deal with some genuinely smart, very well educated people who make lots of these glaring spelling errors, even in messages that are important and well thought out. If I get caught on grammar and spelling, with these people, then I lose. They don’t.
  2. Pots and kettles: I’m shocked at how often I commit these same mistakes myself, breaking easy rules I know well, by  typing too damned fast and then not reading what I wrote. I see your mistakes much more easily than my own. Is that the same for everybody?
  3. Grammar and spelling bigotry: the word prejudice comes from pre judging, as in judging in advance, based on superficial factors. Am I not giving poor spellers or sloppy keyboarders a fair chance? Are spelling and grammar superficial?
  4. And now with social media, the opportunities for errors are so much bigger. What we post in social media is publishing it, where all can see. That raises the stakes. I’m so glad Twitter lets me delete and retype.

Some suggestions:

  1. Two great links: 10 words you need to stop misspelling, and how to use an apostrophe.
  2. I wish I had an email editor that underlines questionable words and phrases, like Word and Windows Live Writer do; at least there’s spellcheck in most email editors. Of course spellcheck doesn’t catch the then-than and your-you’re or there-their-they’re errors.
  3. My wife says angels fly because they take themselves lightly. I do try. But what if she called them “angles” instead of “angels?”
  4. At the very least, when you email me asking a favor, spell my name right.
  5. It’s hard to publish this post because I’m so afraid I might have a spelling or grammatical error in it.