Archive for October, 2010

A pet peeve of mine: bad spelling. Or, I should say, carelessly bad spelling. I’m not talking about the occasional misspelled word in a personal e-mail. I’m talking about misspellings in professional communications, whether that be newspapers, television broadcasts, or campaign fliers, just to name a few.

For quite a few years I’ve noticed more and more misspellings in local newspapers. This started, I believe, a while back after the first round of newspaper layoffs happened. Or, that’s how it seemed to me.

In the past couple of days I’ve noticed misspellings on newscasts. A couple of days ago: “Ever” instead of “Every”. Today, in a story about recalled frozen vegetables: “Pease & Carrots” instead of “Peas & Carrots”.

In this election season:

On a flier for Shawn Adair for County Commissioner: “I will adhere to the principles of our founding father’s — Limited but effective government.” Hmm. I didn’t know we had only one founding father….

On a flier urging me to vote for the Headlee Override to keep fire and police services running:

“Paid for by Meridian Firefighters for Headlee Overide
5300 Chatilly Lane, Haslette MI 48840”

“Overide” should be “Override”,
“Chatilly” should be “Chantilly” and
“Haslette” should be “Haslett”.

My question: Shouldn’t the creator of these fliers be able to spell the street name and city where the group is located?

Now, admittedly, I tend to be a perfectionist and am very detail oriented. I also work as a typesetter and computer programmer in the publishing industry. So, it’s my job to be extra-sensitive to spelling errors. However, throughout my academic career, perfect spelling was impressed upon me. Good spelling is part of good communication. I know that when I read something with misspellings, I have a more difficult time discerning what the author is trying to communicate. Even with minor errors such as above, I have to read the lines more than once or spend more time thinking about what I’m reading because something seems “off”, so to speak.

My final question: Have we, as a society, determined that spelling is no longer an important part of professional communication, and as a result put the proofreader, even if that be ourselves, out of business?

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