Sunday, November 09, 2008


Why Can't People Speel?

It drives me mental. It really does.

I know, I've posted stuff with typos and so on and tend to write a whole lot of those sentence fragment thingies that drive purists to drink, but I really don't understand why about 80% of the populace seems to be unable to spell.

(Come to think of it, if we're in a democracy and 80% of the people think that "their" is the same as "there" or even "they're" then maybe those of us who think we can spell are wrong. But I digress. And also too if they could agree on WHICH version of they're/there/their was correct then maybe they could have some sort of argument but until they're (NOTE THE CORRECT USE) all in agreement, then they're just fucking wrong and that's all their is to it.)

I've been hanging out on Facebook a bit for a few months and I've seen a couple of groups that I felt like joining, but when I go and read the description of the group and it says "... we will need the help of everyone out their" then I just can't.

Spelling has always been easy for me. I don't understand those who can't. When someone I think highly of, intellectually, writes "they're" instead of "their", it jars me. (No, I'm not enough of an asshole to correct them. Even I have limits.)

Then again there are those who can run, and I just can't. At all. If I have to run anything more than about a quarter of a mile I start salivating and feeling sick and my heart goes all stupid (I have a very slow heartbeat to start with -- been clocked as slow as 42, although I'm usually 55-to-60-ish -- and I often skip a beat and then have a stupid double-thump thingie that may well lead to a pacemaker one day but we won't talk about that now, ok?). Give me a hike and I can go for days (I walked 25 miles for charity in one day when I was something like 11 or 12 years old) but the speed thing, I can't do.

So maybe it's an ability; like I can sing effortlessly; my husband can't. He understands a lot of science and computer thingies and I believe that many things are done by elves when we're asleep.

I can pick up accents, I'm good with languages. String theory terrifies me and we won't talk about gravity at all because if I have to think about how we're all actually just STANDING ON THE OUTSIDE OF A BALL OF DIRT and there's really NOTHING in between us and space then I'll go spare. (I don't do well on the prairies. We just won't discuss the first time I left Winnipeg on a bus and saw the horizon ... way way way way out there ...)

So maybe it's just a thingie, and like 20% of the population can spell and 5% of us are pedantic enough to be pissed about it when people can't and I should just suck it up and maybe worry about starving babies in third world countries (or even here) instead.

But dude, I'll tell you that after reading through about six Facebook groups last night, it's a really good thing that a) I'm not in charge of anything and b) I don't have a gun.

So they're.

I totally agree with you! Recently my husband and I went to a bar/restaurant that had plain typed menus, on printer paper. There were so many misspelled words. Not grammatical their/they're, words such as pickles were spelled as pickels. Now who on earth does not have spell check??
As a human who has struggled all her life with spelling, I'm sorry. I do try. Spent hours studying, had a tutor, and still, to this day, I find it so difficult. Yet, despite this glitch, I could run circles around most of my fellow students academically in everything but spelling. Apparently my Uncle also suffered from same glitch.

Spell check does help. Thank goodness because my "job" is in writing. However, spell check doesn't solve there/their/they're...but I tend to catch that as long as my children have allowed me to sleep through the night.

Mea culpa.
agree (1)
Oh, I am so, so with you. May I recommend a job as a proofreader? People like us are so good at it.

My own personal breaking point comes with its/it's. So simple! Either it is short for "it is"/"it has" or it isn't, period.

Years ago, Dave Barry wrote a book about computers, and one part was a fictional account of a woman learning to use a computer for the first time. After reading the contents of various AOL forums, she started her own, and called it "Can Actually Spell".
Even spell check is not infallible. Think about Rabbitch's pet peeve - there/they're/their. Spell check won't catch that! And I totally agree with being angry about people not being able to spell. I have seen papers written by university students that were frightful. Read any newspaper, and you will find it full of spelling errors, and these supposedly have proof-readers! A typo I can forgive, but not something is a published paper. Maybe I am just a dinosaur. Sigh!
Since I just corrected a stupid error on my post from 2 days ago (doubt spelled dought???) and yet I can get straight As in economics and nursing classes, I'll comment here. I at least know I can't spell and don't type well, so check everything. But a bad ear infection during the years when you're learning words, like the one I got after attending a U of Arizona game at the age of three, can result in bad spelling. Apparently it affects hearing enough that you miss some of the nuances of pronunciation which leads to lack of discrimination in spelling. I'm not sure that explains the there/their/they're bit and it sure doesn't explain its v. it's or 1960's. And for those who grew up in the age of ear tubes it explains even less.

I'd recommend Eats, Shoots, and Leaves as a fun read, but I'm not sure you'd actually find it fun.
It used to horrify me to read the spelling and grammar and syntax errors in handouts my kids brought home from school. These were the announce/newsy handouts produced by teachers and administrators. Gah.
I think spell check has spawned a bunch of lazy spellers. If it's something spell check can't pick up on (improper use of to too two, loss lose loose ... ) then the writer never thinks to question the form of a word they have chosen.

Me? I'm a terrible speller and spell check rescues me on a frequent basis, but I think I have those similarly sounding words figured out. But then you never know hey? I would imagine that the writers that are using words incorrectly are not aware that they are doing so.
Hey don't loose your mind over this. LOL! (That's my spelling makes-me-want-to-go-ballistic pet peeve.)
What gets my goat is the "intelligent" people who refuse to either proofread their outgoing email or, FFS, use spell check. I mean if you can't spell, use the free dictionary included in your email program. Also, our local newspaper needs new copy editors. Or don't they use those anymore? And then, the advisor for our High School yearbook who lets page upon page of poorly spelled, grammatically incorrect work get by in a $80 volume that is a souvenir for several hundred (perhaps even over a thousand) students. AAARRRGGGHHH!
My current bugaboo is someone talking about the "heal" of their sock. I always picture some kind of Holy Roller sock goddess or something.
I'm with you on this one!! The one that drives me crazy these days is when people write something like "I'm loosing my mind." Arg.

You should also be glad you don't teach freshman writing. I do, and sometimes it's downright painful!
I am told the reason that we don't fall off is because - The world sucks! Now I only believe this every other Thusday during months that end with "R" but there you have it.
May bee you will enjoi this. I put teh link write their for you.
I'll bring the bullets... hate hate hate this carelessness. I won't join any online groups that have poorly written descriptions. See what their (sic) missing out on by not having us as members?
A friend of mine told me that "nu-queue-lar" is now considered and acceptable alternative pronunciation of nuclear. I told him I'd throw out that dictionary because it was obviously edited by complete and utter morons.

I have a Conan The Grammarian t-shirt. And I wear it with pride.
With Au Jus. When a restaurant gets it _right_ we mention it. GADS I hate "with au jus"!!!!!!!

AU MEANS WITH YOU IDIOTS! I don't want my roast beef with with juice!!!!!

Ok. I'm calm now.
Here's sad for you. On-line dating. You have to write some sort of description of yourself.

Why is it so freaking challenging for people 1) take the time to write full sentences. I mean people base their first impression upon what one writes. 2) attempt to spell words correctly. Or even close to mark. I'd be happy with a horse shoe with some of the candidates.

It's so sad. It's probably why I'm still single. Yup, that one can't spell. Nope that one can't write. Turkey#3 doesn't know the difference between their and there. Geez. You'd think people would put some effort into what other people can see.
I completely agree with you -- and I also agree that spelling is a talent, which some of us have and others obviously do not. I hadn't thought of it that way before -- maybe it will make me more tolerant. Maybe..
Such subtlety! Such irony! I bow before you. Another example that is very widespread in the more UK-influenced countries is a confusion among "were", "where", "wear", and "we're". The words have distinctly different pronunciations and meanings, but a certain percentage of the population pronounces all of them the same way. They use all the spellings, but they apparently use them randomly.
So I am a woman who can spell (at least, I think I can: you've got me wondering).I regularly make my loved ones crazy ranting about spelling mistakes on menus and in advertising. But for some reason the fact that my love can misspell my name three different ways in one letter doesn't bother me at all. Mark Twain said,"I have no respect for a man who can spell a word only one way."
It's not the spelling that I mind so much - some people are good with it, some aren't, I can live with that. What drives me absolutely batty, though, is this trend of using an apostrophe to pluralize something. AAAARRGHHH!
Crap spelling and foul grammar are both like an out of tune oboe playing "Memories" from 'Cats'. Just fucking painful. Sadly, I've experienced all three.

Comma faults drive me batshit and drooling insane.

And just because I'm a weirdo... When I first read the title of this post, I thought, "I have no idea why people can't play.". Because speel = play in Dutch.
oh this drives me spare as well. I do struggle with its and it's - so if it's important I check which one I need! I try to be tolerant, as you never know if someone's dyslexic, but when a major supermarket writes "confectionary" I'm SO going to take the p1ss. It was Tesco's by the way, I pointed out the error very loudly in the shop, in the hearing of an employee, and the sign went away hee hee
They also have horrible grammar. I don't know who their teachers were/are/could have been, but they suck the big weenie. These aren't regional idioms, either - these are just stupid people or people who don't care. The other ones who drive me apeshit are the ones who thank God every other sentence for the abundance being bestowed on them/the wonderful life they're leading/any other bullshit they think they can put over on us.

I sure hope this is all grammatically correct and typo-free. Whew.
The one that drives me up the wall is alot. Alot is NOT a word, people! And how much time does it take to hit that space bar in the middle? It's a lot. "I have a lot of yarn." Unless we're talking budgets, in which case "I allot $50 per month for my son's diapers."
Even giving them credit for typos the amount of abuse of the written word amazes me.

Especially from educators.

Just stupid people. Bank person e-mailed me that my check would clear no later than 17:00 pm on Friday. There is no frickin' am or pm on a 24 hour clock!
Do I win a prize??? I think, maybe in the last sentence of the bracketted paragraph, the "their" should be "there". omg I can't believe I am trying to correct your grammar on a post about usage and spelling!!!!! HELP ME?????????????
Can you just ignore my earlier comment? I am only 2 sips in to my first coffee...arrrrrrrrrrgh
I can usually spell (although any time a spelling and grammar thread pops up it seems to bring out typos), and my husband usually can't.

I think it's an ability. He lets me proofread. Yay!
I am a grammar and spelling geek, without a doubt. And I have to try very hard sometimes (bite my tongue, sit on my hands) not to point out other people's mistakes. But I do admit to having a bit more patience for people with spelling problems than those with grammar problems. Especially when it comes to more unusual words (or words that I myself routinely screw up (such as "definitely" or is it "definately"?). I think this is in part because of my brother, who was diagnosed with a learning disability in 7th grade, at which time his reading comprehension was at a grade 17 level, which his spelling was at the 5th grade level. He is still capable of misspelling the word "much" three different ways on the same page, but instead of being annoyed with him, I choose to appreciate his creativity. And because he knows about his spelling issues, he is always careful to spellcheck and have someone else proofread anything he has to submit for format review, such as a term paper or a letter to the editor.

So maybe it's a skill some people simply don't have, but I think you're right that in many cases it's more laziness than anything else. Wow, who knew I had so much to say about spelling??
Right there with you.
I almost lost my mind the other day when I was looking at the web site for a middle school in the district where I work and there was a huge there/their/they're mistake right on the home page! Agh!
Improper use of the apostrophe also drives me nuts.
It would seem that people can't be bothered to pay attention to detail. If only they realized the importance of first impressions! When your communications are filled with poor spelling and worse grammar people will think you are an idiot.
Yep. Maybe I'm the same way because I read so much as a child. We didn't have cable and I only watched Saturday morning cartoons, the rest of the time, my nose was in a book.

Don't get me started on inappropriate apostrophe usage!
I can't tolerate bad spelling or grammar either, but apparently we are in the minority on this point.
My own particular favourite is "its" and "it's", especially when in published media. (First reaction to decreased revenues? Fire the proofreader, or hire a less qualified one.)

My husband laughed because I bought Eats Shoots and Leaves and read it cover to cover. It helped me feel less isolated.
I think a lack of spelling ability comes from all that bloody well text messaging people are into.

Stoopit txt crap.
I'm so glad someone else is gritting their (note!) teeth at this. I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to spelling and grammar but random capitalization and misuse of apostrophes is just wrong.

Giant billboards announcing "tire's for sale" and people randomely capitalizing a word in the middle of a sentence because they think it is important. Ack!

This may be too much for you to handle, but I laugh at it:
Oh wait, and elipses! If I see one more person do this.........

I may scream. It is only three periods!

And quotation marks? Every year my step father (the attorney) gives me a card to "Laurie" even after I keep telling him I truly am Laurie.

Yeah, I have issues too.
I know exactly what you mean about the spelling. It's always come easy for me as well, but I do try to have sympathy when I find words misspelled.

I think for me, grammar and usage is a bigger deal than spelling. So I'm sure you can understand why I just about went F***ING MENTAL when I found out a few years ago that "irregardless" was actually put into the dictionary.
Oh, and I forgot to say... Have you noticed how it seems like almost EVERYONE ON THE PLANET is mixing up "loose" and "lose". Just look for it. It will drive you insane. And now, my work here is done. Carry on.
And that doesn't count the "made up" spelling that teens seem to be using on Facebook! Things like "ur so pretty"; when did "ur" become a word? I feel like I'm reading a foreign language, but maybe I'm the one from outer space?
I often play a multi-player online game that has a chat window for the players, and sometimes I'm appalled by the level of illiteracy.
One evening, I just got tired of one player's comment of "your stupid" every time someone bested him.
I typed "His stupid what?" which drew a lot of (typed) snickers from the other players.
"what?" he replied.
"You forgot the noun to go with the adjective." More snickers.
"your a looser!"
"A looser what?" The crowd went wild.
Mr. Grammar left the room at that point, to a chorus of cheers from the gallery.
Ur has been a word for a very long time, however it is being used incorrectly now. It is actually a proper noun, Ur, the capital city of ... I forget now. Assyria? Mesopotamia? One of those ancient nation-states.

On occasion I will throw out a bit of text-speak to my daughter, in a text. I consider that an appropriate use, especially since she knows it it tongue in cheek.

Beth in WI
Every time I see a treatise on poor spelling, I first agree, then get defensive. 'Cause (in my own defense -- this may not reflect the defenses of others) I type as I'm talking to myself in my head. It makes "there" and "their" very hard to distinguish.

Also? Won and one, then and than, to/two/too and many other combinations that I know damned well how to spell and why do I continue to do it to my consistent mortification?

Probably because when I proofread, I'm still hearing it all in my head and "there" and "their" STILL slip by me.

So, yeah, it drives me crazy, but I know exactly why I balls it up so often... and I thought I'd share with you.

Y'know... in case you wanted to shoot me or something.
When I was in fourth grade, my teacher told my parents that, despite being quite smart about everything else, I was a "creative" speller. I was in the lowest spelling group, and everyone despaired of me ever learning to spell.

By the time I was in sixth grade, I was in the regional spelling bee.

I have no idea what happened in the intervening year, but suddenly spelling made sense, and I haven't had a problem with it since.

You'd think this would have made me sympathetic to those who do not have a gift for spelling.

Heh. You're probably right that it's an ability (and as a person who couldn't run to save her life, I get the not having of abilities; I hate it when people tell me that I could run if I'd just practice), but I do get annoyed by the "their/they're/there" problem in my students' papers regularly. Sometimes, though, misspellings are fun, like the time someone wrote to tell me that, over the weekend, they'd gone to "stalk up on groceries"; I imagined her sneaking up on the Cheerios in the cereal aisle...
I was my mother's spell checker. She couldn't spell well whereas I could catch the discrepancy in the word pattern and fix it so that it looked right.

Don't get me on my tirade about people misusing less when they mean fewer.
amen, amen, amen!
Wait, you're on Facebook?
Even simpler form of frustration: emails in all caps or all lowercase. Can't stand it.
OMG, I have that same heart thingie, but usually when I drink. Skips a beat then beats like mad to catch up.

Also, I hates the bad spellers.

How ya been Rabbitch? I'm way behind on my blog reading.
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