Thursday, June 8, 2017

Is Spelling Dead or Just Ailing?  #kathleenlawless

I was heartened to learn this year marks nine decades of Scripps National Spelling Bee.  Because honestly, it appears that in today's world, spelling is a low priority on the corporate totem pole.

Last week I sat through two different power point presentations from two different professionals. Each had a spelling mistake.  Glaring to me the wordsmith; unnoticed I'm sure, by the other conference attendees.

As a multi-published author I know typos can slip through the most scrupulous and dilligent editing, copy-editing and proof-reading.  It happens.  The errors I witnessed were not typos.  They were no-one-ever-learned-the-correct-usage errors.  The mistake was' it's' being used in the possessive rather than the correct 'its'.  I cringe every time I see this because the more it becomes commonly used, the more acceptable becomes the error.  No one seems to know or care that it's really means it is.

And how many emails have I received from higher-ups where they blatantly misuse there, their, and they're, words which are not interchangeable; along with knew or new and even no and know.  (Note I'm carefully staying away from mentioning the shorthand used in texting, which is only further eroding people's care of the written word.)

I say bring back spelling.  Keep our language strong.  And please, let there be no typos in this post or my books.  I love words.  I love to spell them correctly.  With the growth of self-publishing and too many authors relying on spell-check only, I worry that spelling correctly will become a dying artform.  
My first western historical, Callie's Honor, had a typo the entire crew at Harper Collins missed, him instead of his.  I have that corrected in this latest version.

Kathleen Lawless loves words and has crafted them into over twenty award-winning novels and novellas. Visit her website, sign up for her newsletter and received a free erotic novella. www.kathleenlawless.com


17 comments:

  1. Hi Kathleen, I understand your frustration. Children in elementary school now don't learn to write. They only print. That means that they won't be able to read older documents that are handwritten. Doesn't bode well for 'communications' does it?

    Thanks for the post.

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    1. I hate that plam in school. We all need a signature to sign a driver's licence, passport, etc. What are they going to do? Print their name? Or go back to making an X?

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  2. I agree with you about the spelling and share your frustration. I think having an entire book without any typos is amazing and I don't think it's happened to me. Having a little paragraph or FB post or email WITH typos is amazing, too--in a bad way! (Now watch me have one here. Fix it if I do, okay? Lol.)

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    1. I agree Liz. Those typo gremlins sneak in after the book has been proofed and re-proofed.

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  3. I totally agree, Kathleen. When I see a spelling error or the misuse of a word, it throws me out of the story. I know that a few are pretty much inevitable, but if there are too many, I lose respect for the author and the editor. One of my pet peeves is the misuse of "discreet" and "discrete."

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    1. I forgot to mention my main pet-peeve. You're and your. I see it everwhere.

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  4. The one that really bugs me (and there are many, Kath), is the apparent confusion between farther and further. More and more, supposedly well-educated people use the two interchangeably, completely ignorant of the fact that FARther denotes distance, and further means in addition to. Too bad there's no nmeonic for the latter one.

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    1. Judy, I may just hire you to edit my next book. You are awesome!

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  5. Just today I saw a post asking if tact could be used instead of tack. As in "he changed tack". The reasoning was that some people think tact is short for tactic. ARRRGGGGHHHHH I think the questioner had just read too many novels by poor spellers or people who honestly don't know the difference. Susan, Lyons and Judy Gill have both hit on ones that make me groan, too. Another one is the difference between less and fewer...fewer being things you can count. So...every express desk you see in a grocery store is wrong. The sign should be 10 items or fewer. sigh

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    1. True enough. And the more people see it and accept it as correct..... there goes language.

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  6. I loved readying this! I learned something and laughed, so thank you. As a former graphic designer, I start to twitch at the vast quantity of signs that misuse apostrophes (I too get triggered by "it's"). And this goes beyond possession; those darn things are wiggling everywhere they shouldn't be. And half the time they aren't true apostrophes, but the marks used to indicate measurement in feet. That mark is the default on most keyboards and web text (like right now, as I type) and so I fear we're all fated to put our characters' speech in inch marks, lol!

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    1. Sorry for not signing in to comment, I'm Roberta Cottam.

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    2. Thanks for weighing in, Roberta. The professionals that design those signs ought to know better.

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  7. Public education is on life support I think. I've already come across high school kids who could not read a note written in cursive.

    My husband went to NAME WITHHELD to get enough pounds of coffee to stock both houses for a couple of months. They only had 3 bags. The coffee was priced at--let's say, 2 bags for $8.99. The young cashier could not figure out how to charge for the 3rd bag. She called her supervisor who also did not know! My husband told her what it should cost, but she said, "Never mind. I'll just charge you for 2 and you can take the other one too."

    Spelling errors? I've almost got to the point where I don't cringe when I see them. Another pet peeve is the improper use of himself/herself. I hear people in interviews using these incorrectly, and it's like fingernails on a chalkboard.

    *LOL* Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now.

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    1. I know what you mean, Joan. I really mess up the grocery clerk if I give them some change with my cash so I get only bills back, after they've entered it in the computer. They can't figure it out, nice to get free coffee, though.

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  8. Nice! The one that really bugs me (and there are many, Kath), is the apparent confusion between farther and further,

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    1. I hope everything is cyclical and spelling and grammar make a comeback.

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