My apologies for the multiple spelling errors in the title of this post. Can you read what I wrote? What I asked was, do you know how to spell correctly? The inability to spell has become an epidemic in our society. I don’t believe this is a situation that only exists within the younger generation. People of all ages simply cannot spell, and it drives me crazy.
I won’t even touch the topic of grammar etiquette as that is a whole other can of worms. For now, I will look at spelling.
We all learned to spell back in elementary school. I had regular spelling tests all the way through high school. First, I learned the simple words like “it,” “and,” or “cat,” then moved up to the four or five-letter words like “your,” “what,” or “table.” It became more complicated as I grew older, as I learned exceptions and longer words. English is a hard language, and it can be complicated to learn its nuances. However, everyone is capable of learning how to spell correctly.
Spelling errors are commonplace in elementary school, as a child learns how to read and write and sound out words. I would even allow for mistakes in high school as a teenager learns some of the harder words like “chrysanthemum” or “accommodate.” But, every high school graduate should understand the difference between “there” and “their” or “your” and “you’re.”
Technology has pushed its way into our daily lives. The art of letter writing seems to have disappeared, and we communicate by text and email. In some ways, we are writing more than ever. It’s easier to send your friend a text than walk across the room to ask a question. Employees prefer to email their colleagues instead of picking up the phone.
So, if we are talking less and writing more, shouldn’t we spell better? Text and email are so informal that people often don’t check what they wrote before sending, and the messages are sometimes unreadable. A person who cannot spell is as bad as someone who knows how but is too lazy to check if they spelled the words correctly.
Many would say that newspapers are a dying industry, as people receive their news in new and innovative ways each day. Copy editors lost their jobs years ago, and it shows. It is rare to read an article in even a respected publication anymore that does not have spelling errors. Someone had to edit it – the writer or some editor, I would think. I encourage them to please take the time to read through their articles and correct their spelling errors before pressing “publish.”
I could go on and on about my distress over the lack of good spelling in our society. Emails, texts, news articles, press releases, even road signs and books. Please, everyone, learn to spell, or at least use spell check. Take your time before you press “send” and make sure you spelled the words correctly. It will make me happy.
*Thanks to my friend Dara for seeing this Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) sign, snapping a photo and posting. It’s priceless.