Not everyone can spell well enough to win a spelling bee. However, almost everyone living in an industrialized society has access to a multitude of resources on spelling. I have known many, many people who thoughtlessly write or type something, never caring enough to ensure their words are spelled correctly, only to say, “I can’t spell” when they realize they have made mistakes. I believe most of these people suffer from sheer laziness, as opposed to being spelling challenged, because they just didn’t take the extra couple of minutes to review what they wrote to ensure everything was spelled correctly. As one example, the program I am using to type this post has a “spell check” feature that highlights, in red, all words that are misspelled. I am a poor typist, such that most of my misspellings are the result of my poor typing skills instead of poor spelling, but the point is my typos and other mistakes are caught immediately, allowing me to correct them. My cell phone corrects my spelling at an almost nauseatingly fast speed (but sometimes it doesn’t account for context, etc., resulting in a different kind of error!). Just as with many other things in life, as long as a person does not suffer from a learning disability or another problem that precludes accurate spelling, there are numerous ways to improve spelling. This being said, most people resign themselves to be poor spellers and rarely do they devote any time toward changing their spelling habits. Using the wrong word, spelling a word incorrectly (including my name!), and failing to correct one’s mistakes send the message that one is unconcerned about the impression he/she is making on the recipient of one’s message. So, if you are a poor speller, maybe it’s time to enter a spelling bee, then make a goal to learn how to spell or, at a minimum, learn how to use your spell check program!
Building on our reading post, spelling and vocabulary are related in my mind. When one reads, he/she is often exposed to unfamiliar words. And seeing those words surely must help spelling them correctly. But, the point of my post on this topic is that misspelling (and/or using the wrong word – English can get confusing that way), is a quality control issue. Despite the ease of being alerted to a misspelling when using a word processor, over the years we have seen examples when it appeared the employee just didn’t care about the quality of his/her work product – at least that was the message I took away from seeing sloppy work. I’m aware of someone who was fired, in part, because the boss didn’t like that capitalization was ignored in emails from this person. And, I know of environments where grammar and spelling errors in a boss’ letter were grounds for termination. The tools are present today to make spelling easy. Yes, one can be fooled by which word to use, to/too/two, or there/their – all of which the spell checker will tell you is spelled correctly. And, occasionally, the program may flag something that seems grammatically correct. But, the point we’ve always tried to make for staff is to turn in what you think is an A effort. If there are errors, we’ll try to catch them before things go final. But, do not try to take the lazy way out and turn in C work. We count on everyone to make our overall project A+; turning in a C distracts us from getting to the A+ because we’re forced into the mire of a C world. No boss wants to be dragged down by such lax behavior. It helps to know one’s limits. A current employee considers herself a poor speller. Yet, rarely does she turn in something with misspellings because she knows this about herself and takes the small amount of time to look up words about which she is unsure. That’s the spirit!