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13 August 2008


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What absolutely flips me out, at least five or six times a day, is when I thank someone in an email and receive a return email that says,
"Your welcome."
It took five minutes for me to type that. My fingers just wouldn't do it!

Yes of course spelling, punctuation etc does matter. Husband had a work experience boy from a local school for a week. At the end of the week Husband asked Boy to write a short essay on what he had observed. The spelling was really atrocious. We were amazed to learn, that later the same year, this boy passed his English GCSE and also another seven subjects.

I think Lindsay has identified an all too common problem. I used to be bombarded with letters from aspiring public relations practitioners asking if I could offer them a job, graduate placement, work experience etc. As an ability to write clearly, correctly and succinctly is essential for anyone working in PR, it was staggering to see just how many of those applications were poorly written and contained howlers. I would reply, gently suggesting that it's always a good idea to check what you've written before posting or e-mailing . . .

It was Napoleon Bonaparte who said: “A man occupied with public or other important business cannot, and need not, attend to spelling.” Just think what happened to him.

(sigh sigh sigh)
Shakespeare wrote at a time when the language was more flexible and had a narrower impact. Now, abominable English spelling has worldwide implications -- for one thing, it makes Americans look like lazy idiots.

Do you think this problem exists in other countries? France, for instance?

I don't think so!

Oh, gosh - a hobby horse of mine and I wrote a long reply on An Itchy Blog this week because she picked this one up too.

Yes, spelling does matter. It is an indication of competence, intelligence, professionalism and attention to detail, and it matters in all kinds of printed text and in business letters and job applications. I've heard many people (including my husband) say that if he had an application form arrive on his desk with spelling errors, he never, ever called that person in, it went into the bin.

Spelling and grammar mistakes confuse meaning. Reading and writing are all about conveying meaning accurately. Why wouldn't spelling matter?

I could rant forever about the misuse of: me and I; there, their and they're; to and too;less and fewer;possessives and plurals and much more. Grrrrrrrr

Like Size, Spelling Matters :-) - not least because it is so irritating (to those of us for whom this matters) to read something that is incorrectly spelled or to see a word incorrectly used. I rant over the misuse of MYRIAD - 'A MYRIAD' seems to be the norm. Myriad is like 'various' - you can't say 'a various'??

EVERYTHING MATTERS! Did you see this outrageous story -

"The head examiner of a British school-examination board... recently explained to teachers why a pupil who answered the question, “Describe the room you’re in,” with “Fuck off”—an actual case, apparently—should receive a grade of 7.5 percent rather than a grade of zero. - “it would be wicked to give it zero because it does show some very basic skills we are looking for.”

First, the candidate had spelled the two words correctly, said the chief examiner, which showed some grasp of English orthography; and second, he had strung two words together correctly, which showed some grasp of grammatical structure and an ability to convey meaning."

Full text at -


It seems to me this is part of a larger problem, we've devolved into a culture of carelessness. Lately I notice people yawning without bothering to cover their mouths. Then there's the deterioration of dress, or as one reader put it, the pajamafication of America.

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Thought for life

  • The House of Breath, William Goyen
    We are the carriers of lives and legends - who knows the unseen frescoes on the private walls of the skull?

Thinking about . . .

  • Daniel Klein, Travels with Epicurus
    I too listen to music more and more. Throughout my life, music has stirred me more than any other art form, and now, in old age, I find myself listening to it almost every evening, usually alone, for hours at a time.
  • Julia Blackburn, Thin Paths
    I began writing because I liked to write things down. I learnt foreign languages because they seemed to enter my head by a process of osmosis.
  • Joan Bakewell, Stop the Clocks
    I live contentedly alone. It's better that way and I am often thoughtful about what has been and what might have been. There are many like me.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Oh to be reborn within the pages of a book.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Why is it that we lose the things we love, and things cavalier cling to us and will be the measure of our worth after we’re gone?
  • Judith Kerr, Observer Magazine, 22 November 2015
    I don't believe in God. I find it much easier to believe in ancestors. I like to imagine they are pointing us in the right direction.

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