Thursday, August 11, 2011

Don't Depend on Spellcheck

I’ve noticed recently that proper spelling has become a thing of the past. I’m not just talking about everyday people and their correspondence, I’m talking about professionals; people who make a living out of using the English language. In my opinion, they’ve gotten sloppy. 

 Now, I realize the English language is one of the more difficult languages to learn. In fact, “Mark Pagel, an expert on language diversity at the University of Reading, acknowledges the irony that despite being the international lingua franca, English is the most difficult to learn.” CLICK HERE  to read more about this topic. (In case you’re wondering, lingua franca means a language used for communication among people of different mother tongues. This definition is from

It stands to reason that if English is the most difficult language to learn to read, it will also be a language quite difficult to learn to write. That is why I hold the “professionals” up to a higher standard. Those writing copy for advertisements, billboards, signs, etc. should not only have an exceptional working knowledge of the usage of the English language, they should also know how to edit, self-correct and utilize resources when their language knowledge is lacking.

I cringe when I see McDonald’s ® “i’m lovin’ it” ad campaign. I worked all last year trying to get one of my students to capitalize the pronoun I with no luck. If that’s what children are seeing in their environment, that’s what they’re going to do. But wait, there’s more: a company down the street from my house has a sign out front that says one of their services is “bookeeping.” A teacher-friend of mine gets such a kick out of it she wants to mail them an envelope full of boos in need of keeping. Do you think they’ll get it? 

Reading the newspaper can also be frustrating for me as I see more and more evidence of the use of spellcheck with no regard for careful proofreading. I understand budgets are tight but don’t get rid of all the editors! They are the last line of defense against misspelled words and incorrect grammar.

While reading a local free paper this morning I read a headline: “Can you unstick a stuck tire cap for left than 71 bucks?” and an advertisement: “Bring in this coupon for an additional 5% more.” Argh!

I’ll close now so I can carefully proofread and edit my words.

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