Friday, September 25, 2009

I shutter to think about what happened to spelling

spelling beeImage by sushiesque via Flickr

If you want to feel confident about the educational attainments of your fellow men and women, avoid Craigslist at all costs. Every time I visit, I find one or two new spellings that give me concern for our future. Today's happy coinage: "Shudders" for the objects that some people like to slap on their T-111 to make it look like there are cheap objects slapped on the T-111.

And I've long since lost count of the number of times that Craigslisters have "loose" and "loosing"where lose and losing would be correct. It makes me worry about what a looser I am for caring about such things.

(Obligatory disclaimer: I'm not saying that people who misspell things a lot are all stupid. But I do observe that all stupid people misspell things quite a lot . . . or alot, as it usually appears these days. And why does it matter? Because words are tools. It's not required that you use big, complicated, unusual words . . . but if you can't spell the words you already use, it's like a carpenter who leaves the saw out in the rain to get dull and rusted. Respect for your tools means paying attention to the small differences that distinguish them and using the right tool for the right job. With words, those differences are especially important because they usually say something about the origin of the words, which is a real help to choosing the right one at the right time.)
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