4 June 2008

Does Spelling Matter Anymore?

It seems that documents without spelling errors are becoming a thing of the past. I remember when my daughter was in school she brought home an essay with lots of spelling mistakes and being the perfectionist I am, I had to comment on it. She told me that in her school if you wrote an essay in science then you were only marked on the science content, not the spelling. If you had a spelling test, then obviously spelling would count. I bought that for a time until she came home and on one of her essays she had spelled her own name wrong.

She was right about spelling not being as important however. It seems to be less important to a generation who writes short forms in e-mail, text messaging and on chat lines. But will that spill over into the office?

I notice when I receive letters and e-mails that the spelling errors in them are sometimes pretty glaring. That is something that rarely would have happened years ago. Having a polished letter was considered a reflection of the company and they wanted it to shine. Poor spelling and grammar would never do.

I think with the education system not taking spelling as seriously as it used to and with the use of Spell Check, we are just not noticing anymore or taking the time to look it over carefully.

I still have a hard time when I see a spelling error. I will excuse one, but when there are multiple errors it comes across to me as careless and sloppy. If I am reading an article, if there are too many spelling mistakes I have a hard time reading it from start to finish. It does not seem as important for me to continue reading when I see errors. I suppose I may be thinking if it wasn’t important for the author to watch their spelling then is the content really that important for me to read? Am I showing my age here?

I read my articles over many, many times and proof them and try to get them as polished as I can before pressing “Publish” on my blog. That doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes, because I know I do, but I don’t like it. I have even put on my blog disclaimer that I will go back and change articles from time to time. If I notice an error, I correct it.

In the office I proofread letters and e-mails and do a final Spell Check before letting the document leave my desk. I think that is my job and I know my boss is depending on me to catch any typos before something goes out.

With our bosses use of e-mail on wireless hand-held devices however, it is harder to type accurately. Men especially have complained about their big thumbs as they try to type on the small keyboard.

I was joking with my boss while he was complaining about that very thing. He said the keyboard has to be bigger. I told him they did have a bigger keyboard but it was called a laptop. He smiled. Of course we want convenience as well and it is much easier to put a hand-held device in your pocket rather than lugging a laptop around.

Is that why spelling is being overlooked? Is it because a generation is coming up who have been taught expediency comes before accuracy, or is it because the technology is so small that it is almost impossible to get it right? Or maybe it is a combination of both?

I like good spelling habits and think we are losing something if we let them go. The end product to me does reflect on the company behind it. I think it is still important to be as accurate as possible.

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