A Bad Spell

These days there is no excuse for bad spelling. People complain that the spelling standards of the young are declining, and by looking at any mySpace page for a person under the age of 20, this is immediately obvious. But this is not so bad, because the kiddies are just communicating with their peers, and they can understand each other anyway, on some deep, visceral level.

But grown-ups, writing blogs or essays or articles, have no excuse at all. That is because you simply type the thing up in Word (or OpenOffice or even gMail) and it checks the spelling and grammar for you, putting a big obvious red line under anything that is wrong. Nothing could be easier. But out in the hills and dales of the Internet this is not at all what you find.

I have seen submitted university papers where people have obviously not even bothered to run a spell checker. My girlfriend M showed me a paper written by somebody in her nursing course where the guy had grossly misspelled dozens of words and even had his OWN NAME wrong on the first page. His excuse was that he was not a native Swedish speaker, but that excuse is just bollox – spell checking works even if you do not know the language. If you are too lazy to press “check spelling” then you should fail.

The worst offenders here are Americans, especially in comments left to other people’s blogs and articles. They appear to have no grasp of basic spelling, grammar or nuthin’. What do they teach the kids in American schools these days? Ploughing? Gun-care? I have no idea, but it sure ain’t spelling.

One thing that is excusable is when your spell checker swaps a word for another that is a correct word, just not the word you wanted. This can be hard to sea, sew I tend to excuse these people and there mistakes. But basic grammar errors – “there” instead of “their”; “your” instead of “you’re” – will be picked up by any spellchecker and are just not acceptable on a medium like the Internet where most communication is written. And as for smilies…oh please don’t get me started on the hated smilies.  >:-(

Somebody once told me that most kids on chat rooms can always spot the greasy old paedophiles trying to masquerade as young boys, because their spelling was always correct. So it might just be that the language is changing and I am refusing to keep up.

Whatever. All I know is that if I get a comment on this blog with gross errors in spelling, grammar or style, then I delete the bugger without a second thought. So keep those comments coming, people, and let’s see what you’ve got!

/ paddy

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