Well, ‘cause we are! It’s just that simple.
Oh, that’s not enough of an answer? Alright then.
Wrimos and Writers are awesome for many, many reasons. Far too many to list in this blog post. 50,000 words could be written on why we’re such a radical bunch of people. But the reason I bring it up is for one thing and one thing only:
We write well.
And I’m not talking about crafting beautiful stories, producing intricate tales and creating intriguing characters (all of which are true). No, I’m talking about literally writing well. We spell correctly (or take the time to spell check if we’re a little shaky on spelling), we use proper grammar and good punctuation. We understand when to use a comma and a full stop. We can smoothly slide semi-colons into sentences making them look like they belong. We know that excessively capitalising your words and whoring out exclamation marks makes people judge you.
Without going into a ton of detail about my real life work, I check applications for a cultural exchange programme from people wanting to, well, apply. Now, this is effectively a job application. People can be rejected, dropped and even see the application season out without a placement being offered to them. (It can be harsh, but that’s life.) So, you’d think that with it being a job application, spelling would be checked carefully, punctuation rules would be followed and emoticons would be nowhere in sight.
Oh how wrong you’d be. It upsets me on a daily basis how many mistakes I find in applications, how many basic rules of writing are broken. Talking about yourself? Capital ‘I’. Not sure how to spell the job title? Look it up! Start of a sentence? Capital letter. Nice smiley face at the end of the paragraph? No! Gods…
And that’s just the start of it! I’ve seen double negatives (“I had a no alcohol ban” Wow, really? You were banned from having no alcohol? How drunk did you get?), the dreaded “of” instead of “have”, and phrases such as “I done this” and “my friend and me”.
These people are all at least 18. They have all at least gone through a high school education. And yet far too many are incapable of stringing a basic sentence together. It really does make me feel dejected. And, what’s worse, I simply haven’t got the time to be emailing these people and asking them to spell check their application. There’s just that many! It makes me cringe how many applications have gone through our system with the word “alot” alone. (Every time I see it, I desperately want to email the person this.) How will these people cope when they have to apply for a “real job” out in the “real world?” I dread to think.
Last week, I spent fifteen minutes firmly deciding I was going to become an English teacher. For the good the world and my own sanity.
And this, dear Wrimos, is why I love you all and why you are a truly awesome breed of people. You don’t cause me the stress and heartache that comes with the butchering of the English language. You naturally work with it. Your subconscious is trained to want to write properly and well and coherently in all walks of life. It makes you twitch to see “txt spk” and you’d rather gnaw off an arm than knowingly submit any piece of writing anywhere with errors in it.
You even add new comments onto the forums when you notice your own typing error because there isn’t an edit button.
You keep me from losing my mind. (Yes, I check the forums at work. What, you don’t?)
Are there any words that you consistently spell wrong or have to spell out in your head before you write them down, no matter how many times you’ve written them in your lifetime?
No matter what, I always spell truly as ‘truely’ first, every single time (even then!) I always spell separate as seperate before spell check tells me off and I have long given up on spelling deoderent right.
And trying to spell itinererary correctly just reminds me of a poem I read when I was younger:
I thought I’d win the spelling bee
And get right to the top,
But I started to spell “banana”
And I didn’t know when to stop!
Business has to be mentally pronounced “bus-ee-ness” as I write it out and of course Wednesday is “Wed-nez-day” and February is “Feb-bru-ary”.
My best friend spelt ‘finish’ as ‘finnish’ throughout most of high school. I used to go through her homework planner and correct every single homework assignment which she’d written as “finnish question 5”.
And ‘fess up. All 90’s kids learnt how to spell difficulty thanks to Matilda:
“Mrs. D, Mrs. I, Mrs. F-F-I. Mrs. C, Mrs. U., Mrs. L-T-Y.”
I marvel at people who can spell effortlessly (namely my parent’s generation… they didn’t have the luxury of spell check). People tend to be surprised when I confess I’m not a great speller. The fact that my degree is in English Language with Creative Writing gets me a few odd looks at this confession. Shockingly, a degree in English Language does not mean that we spent our time learning the dictionary. Spelling came into it very little!
I am utterly glad that spelling bees are not a major thing in the UK. As if spelling when writing the word down isn’t bad enough, trying to spell it out loud is so much worse! I can rarely spell a word out loud when someone asks me. I have to write it down and dictate. (“How many’s c’s in recommend?”) And that’s not even a memory thing. I can recite numbers, names, dates, random facts and a good portion of the words and lyrics from The Nightmare Before Christmas without hesitating, but spelling? Nah.
I sometimes wonder if spelling is worse now because of the wonder of spell check. We no longer have to remember how to spell. As long as we get it almost right, the computer tells us what’s wrong! I cringe when wondering what my spelling was like on my final exam in university. I hadn’t written without a spell check for years by that point. It was probably atrocious.
I proof read sometimes as part of my job at the moment and can spot a punctuation error a mile away. But spelling? I wouldn’t bet my life on getting it right.
What’s your spelling like? Do you have particular words which, no matter how hard you try, always come out wrong the first time round?
Just so you know, I typed this in Notepad and proofread it. I then ran it through Word before publishing it. The following words were spelt wrong:
And I spelt ‘spell check’ as one word throughout. Until Word told me it’s in fact, two words.