In this day and age, acronyms, text abbreviations, and new fad shortcuts are great when you are using them on Facebook, Twitter, and if you are 10 years old. However, it is still so very important to know how to spell everything correctly.
The other day a friend’s daughter was talking online with a friend of hers (she is 15, a good kid, but she is not allowed to be alone with her computer) and I was aghast at her manner of spelling. I asked her what some of her abbreviations meant and when she told me I was very surprised at the simplicity of some of these words. I knew what the words were (I constantly work on the computer and do keep up with the lingo, ha!); I just wanted her to tell me. For instance, “I wl b @ du pk 4-2 hrs b4 krfu. c u der”. Ok, this is easy enough to decipher, but why not just spell it out right? I mean, I know that at her age it is a fad or hip and fun thing to do, the “in-crowd” talk, but it got me thinking about how so many of us don’t really know how to spell and also, about how her habit will be hard for her to undo as she grows older for those times when she will be required to spell correctly.
So use spell check, right? Well, yes and no. Technology is a blessing and a curse. I have been blessed with having a spell check tool I can use as a back-up to check my work. Even the most seasoned writer needs a little help! I do not deny nor am ashamed that I use it often. I find that even when I do a read-through of my work, my blog entries, for example, some surprises still come up when I use spell check just in case. But I cannot rely totally on spell check. Even the spell check tool doesn’t catch everything. What if I don’t have a computer? What if I have to write something on the spot, such as an essay I will have to hand in with a job interview application (ok, I’m reaching but you get the point!)? Or, more simply, what if I have to write something sweet or funny on someone’s birthday card like, “I hope you are consious that you are getting older than me! Wait, you are! LOL LOL LOL!!! Happy Birthday!” Darn! Is that right? No! I misspelled conscious! Oops!
I did a little experiment to see how profound this problem is. I got my local Sunday newspaper (it’s the only day the retail specials are included!) and I perused the Living section (I get lazy and need to chill ;D) and looked to see how many spelling errors I found. Oh boy! I have to say that I clipped several articles, highlighted the offensive errors, and sent them to the paper so that they can schedule a grammar class for their writers. The mistakes were not only spelling errors, they were also grammatical, which is probably worse. You expect someone to misspell words, but not commit so many grammatical errors, especially if they are writing for the paper. I haven’t received a response yet but I only offered my email address as a return address. Yes, I’m a little scared of the backlash!
I’m not an expert by any means but I do check my work and even so, there will still be errors that I find later on or that someone has brought to my attention. That’s ok! The point I’m trying to make is that it is very important to be good at spelling and to punctuate correctly. You can tell right away who doesn’t even try. Potential employers look for things like that. If you want to get something published you can bet that a publisher will be looking for a solid script. All kinds of situations will call for this. Just like any profession, or any craft, you make sure that you do it correctly. Part of this step-by-step process of mine has brought me to this subject because I have pitched several ideas by email so I know that it is important to at least appear professional, even though I don’t know what that might mean to the other person. It just gives me a sense of thoroughness and completion.
Here is a starter page on the web that can help you with spelling and grammar if you are interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Common_grammatical_errors and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonly_misspelled_words. And here is one for text messaging, http://www.webopedia.com/quick_ref/textmessageabbreviations.asp
I hope dis hlps! tl nxt x! (ok, that was lame!) I hope this helps! Till next time!