Monday, August 31, 2009

Spelling is Important

When I was a teacher, I was once told not to correct students' spelling. Since I was a math teacher, I guess I was only to check their math problems. But I swore that if I saw "Algerbra" at the top of one more student's paper, I was going to have to scream.

Now, I'm not a perfect speller; no one is. But at least I try. I even remember the first spelling word I misspelled. I was in first grade and the word was "girl." I kept sounding it out and sounding it out and it kept coming out "giril." I couldn't decide if I should put the "i" before or after the "r." So I guessed. Of course, I guessed wrong. That was when I realized that if I ever had a decision to make between two choices, I would always choose the wrong answer if I guessed. That's when I learned I had to study. I needed to know answers, not guess at them. It was a good lesson for me and followed me clear through college and graduate school.

But is spelling really important? I think so. If you're engraving tombstones and you write "Beloved Mohter," you're probably not going to have a job. There was an elevator in a care facility with an engraved "Maximum Capicity 14" sign. When it had to be replaced, I heard the cost was about $2000. And of course we've all seen the painted road signs that read "SHCOOL." They are just too funny.

But I think the biggest problem is that poor spelling makes you look stupid, uneducated, or careless. Everyone knows that typographical errors will slip in. Everyone knows that no matter how many times you proofread, you will miss something. But I've read papers, websites, blogs, flyers, bulletins, and others where word after word is misspelled. It always gives me the impression that the person just doesn't care and probably doesn't know what he or she is talking about.

So be careful about your spelling. It is often the first impression other people will have of you.

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