Tuesday, March 15, 2011

True Confessions of a Spelling Snob

I guess you could say I’m a spelling snob. When reading materials misspelled words tend to pop out to me and can linger into the next page or two until I missed what the person was writing because I was wondering how they could misspell a simple word. I always enjoyed spelling test in school maybe because it came easily to me. But I never could understand diagraming sentences and tend to write based on a gut feeling of whether something sounds right or not. No doubt, editors probably love to work with authors who are English majors instead of someone with an art background.

I was watching a news program the other day and they were covering a story about the violence that was threatening neighboring US borders and the news line caption on the screen spelled it “US boarders.” I’ve noticed that misspelling is more prevalent in the media. With texting the new social fad in which abbreviations are common place for conversation via iPhones, Smartphones and BlackBerrys. I fear misspelling will only increase with each new generation. I remember when our 30 year old was in elementary school they used a computer program to teach them to read by sounding out the words. But they didn’t have to spell correctly. It was more about writing how it sounds. Now this drove me crazy.

Had society gotten too lazy to learn how to spell or was it part of the plan that pushed self-esteem over correctness? Were we so eager for kids to learn to read that it didn’t matter if they learned correctly? And this is the generation that is climbing the corporate ladders of major companies, government entities and public education. Thankfully Spelling Bees encourage our young students the importance of spelling and expanding their vocabulary. Vocabulary is an area that I need to work on. You can sign up to receive an email with the ‘word of the day’. (http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/). As writers we always have room for more words!

As a freelance writer I write feature stories for a local newspaper. I learned that writing a 700 word article wasn’t as simple as I thought. I end up doing numerous rewrites before I get to the final product. And I fear I will send an article to the editor or write this blog with some embarrassing mistake that I didn’t catch. As I’ve learned you can’t get better without practice. So that’s what keeps me writing. I hope as I improve it will come easier. I see that AARP offers a National Spelling Bee for seniors age 50 or older. The winning word for last year: k-e-r-a-t-o-m-i-l-e-u-s-i-s. Would anyone care to join me June 18th in Cheyenne, Wyoming?