Saturday, January 26, 2013

Does Spelling Matter?


I've always been a good speller.   (Don't let me know if you've found an error somewhere in one of my posts--it's possible!)    Or perhaps, as I tell students, I was just checking to see if you were paying attention.  Spelling used to be an important subject but now it is almost an afterthought.   After all, there's spellcheck.  Who needs to excel at spelling?   

Some time ago I read the anecdote of an employer inundated with applications for a lower level managerial position, but one with advancement possibilities.   He decided to sort the applications according to those that had spelling errors and those that did not.   His rationale was that attention to correct spelling demonstrated an attention to detail, a necessary part of the job description to his mind.   The result eliminated a lot of applications.  Perhaps also an excellent candidate but that would never be known.

Spelling is maligned as a lesser skill.   It isn't creative--there is usually only one correct spelling--and creativity is highly regarded today.  It isn't original.   The writer is following what someone else has determined, someone staid and boring with a name like Webster.

Just tonight I was following a link to Huffington Post, an on-line newsmagazine, and there it was in the heading:   As E-books Rise, Publishing Still Waivers You caught it, right?   A waiver is a known right or privilege that  a person relinquishes voluntarily in exchange for some other benefit.  Waver (to move back and forth unsteadily) is what the column author meant.

Errors like that just jump out at me--the sign of a small mind some might say and one that isn't looking at the big picture.  I don't agree but in any event, this small, or not so small, talent comes in handy for editing purposes.

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