Can you spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r?

I’m no saint when it comes to creating pristine prose–avoiding misspellings, typos, and grammatical inaccuracies, but I do try.  I feel like such an OLD young fart for writing about this topic, but in the past few weeks, I’ve encountered so many writing errors (many in professional correspondence) that I just can’t resist.

The final straw was the sign to the left, which was handwritten by an employee of a large condominium complex and posted in the gym on a door that had just been made into an emergency exit.  Had I had the proper materials available, I would have made them a replacement sign and ‘thrown’ that one away.

For as long as written languages have existed, we erring humans have mishandled them–and that is putting it lightly.  In more recent times, the trend has been to blame new technologies and faster paced lifestyles for our writing errors.  ‘WE’ don’t know how to spell because spellcheck does the work for us.  ‘WE’ don’t have time to proofread, very busy, please forgive us.  ‘WE’ didn’t mean to text or email that; autocorrect did it, oops, sorry.

Misspelled words, typos, homonyms: they can make for great laughs. I’ll give you that.  I once sent a reply text to a girlfriend–who is a comedian, incidentally–with the intention of saying “You’re so funny.”  My phone’s autocorrect changed the second ‘L’ in “silly” to a ‘K,’ and before I could spot it and fix it, the text was gone.  And I had just told my friend how “silky” she is.  There was also the pest control vehicle I passed while driving to work one day.  Its slogan read “Were in business for you.”  (Gloss: No longer in business for you. Kill your own damn bugs.)  And yet another, the storefront sign I drove by for years and thought to myself, “enough already!” until one day I looked more carefully and realized it read ‘Going out FOR business,’ not ‘Going out OF business.’  What a clever marketing ploy, ugh.

However, more often than not, writing errors are not so punny or endearing.  A few weeks ago, for example, I saw a fantastic production of a contemporary play at a thriving, well-funded theatre.  Before the show began, I opened the program to check out the actor bios (there were only 3), and there it was–not just a single word error, but an entire sentence of complete nonsense that looked like it had been edited in haste and half of an unwanted thought remained.  Beyond this, I’ve also received numerous ‘professional’ emails with ALL CAPS, all lowercase, misspellings, typos, no punctuation whatsoever, etc.  Am I just an anal square, a grammar soldier masquerading as a laidback blogger? 😉  (It’s okay. You can be honest.)

But really, are ‘WE’ okay with this?  And are ‘WE’ really as busy as we think we are?  And if ‘WE’ are that busy, then, perhaps we should find a friendly editor?


One Response to “Can you spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r?”
  1. Skye Whitcomb says:

    I’m right there with you, Nicole. If you can’t spell the language, please stop writing it. You look like an idiot. As for the countless “excuses” offered – whether it be reliance on spellcheck, or simple haste, or whatever – please, spare me. I only accept one excuse, that of second-language usage; English is a confusing language to those not born to it, and I can accept homonymous mistakes or awkward sentence structure from those who are new to the complexities of our hodge-podge of a language. Other than that, sorry; I’m a proud intellectual elitist.

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