It’s not that I’m saying I’m the world’s best speller.Published 11:59am Friday, August 8, 2014
Someone who came in around the middle of the pack during grade school spelling bees (a ‘pack’ being a classroom of 20 students) certainly can’t feign superiority over their peers. Add to this English parents who used two ‘Ls’ for ‘marvellous’ and wrote bills with a ‘cheque,’- well, you end up with a kid who didn’t know which way was up.
And let’s not even start on the pronunciation of ‘aluminum…’ Mom, I love you dearly and miss you every day, but, trust me, there is no ‘i’ after that ‘n!’
However, I enjoy knowing how to spell reasonably well. I even enjoy learning how to spell a word I didn’t know, beforehand, and I make a concentrated effort to commit it to memory.
So in today’s world of on-line grammar and ‘spell check,’ really, there is no valid excuse for sending anything out that isn’t correct. Now, texting is one thing; that’s a method of communication (or at least that’s what they’re calling it) that’s meant to be pithy and dumbed down, all for the sake of alacrity (look it up- I had to, and use it in a sentence at work tomorrow: ‘Bill, I’d like that report finished with alacrity,’ or ‘Kids, once your homework is done with alacrity, you can watch television,’), because, evidently, it’s hugely important to respond that you’ve ‘laughed out loud’ to every item. And to be fair, sometimes ‘spell check’ purposely leads you astray. For example, each time I happen to type, ‘Obama,’ it is immediately switched to ‘Osama.’ (Note to self: research political affiliation of creator of ‘spell check’)
At any rate, all I’m saying is, for Pete’s sake, make an effort! Listen, I’ve made a spelling error that was missed by both me and my editors, making it to a published column. When taken to task by a reader, I was both humbled and grateful and have tried my best to be on my toes since then. Yet now, it seems everywhere I look, particularly at on-line newspapers, there are multiple, glaring errors. Are companies so consumed with updating their sites every 5 minutes that everything becomes slap dash?
And the worst, oh, Law (I meant to misspell that), the worst, are the classifieds- unless you’re a comedian, because then they are the best. Sometimes I trawl Craig’s List just for the material. Sometimes I’m browsing for an actual item and fall over by what appears before my not-so-prudish eyes in bold print. Take the description of a ‘Horse For Sale,’ somewhere around Laurens, S.C., that popped up a couple of days ago. If I’m lyin,’ I’m dyin’:
Trust me: I’ve owned horses since I was eight years old and I both teach and train them. Somehow, this particular equine characteristic has alluded me. I suppose we should at least be grateful for the comma, otherwise it would sound as though it was describing a side effect of that drug where the couple ends up holding hands in two, claw-footed, bath tubs, or, failing that, perhaps the name of a pub somewhere in North Yorkshire.
Perhaps there are more important things in life, however, I truly feel that learning to spell well should be a priority. Honestly, it determines how one is perceived both professionally and personally. A well written letter or resume is, frankly, mandatory for success in life. Ask any corporate CEO. Ask President Osama.