Taking a break from the seriousness of my previous “daily notes” on grief, I decided to tackle a subject that makes my stomach and butt cheeks tense up: misspelled words. I’m old school. I grew up during a time in which my English teachers were absolute sticklers for properly formed sentences, which included properly spelled words. Being a natural-born rebel meant I would usually scoff at anything a person in authority would attempt to instill in me – just because I felt like it. However, something in me agreed with these English teachers: A paper with misspelled words was incomplete and downright awful.
Over the years, life has reminded me of this. Take for example the time during my 20’s when I agreed to tutor a young teen neighbor of mine. My first assignment? To proof an English paper with which she had been told to make a few corrections. Yes! I thought excitedly, imagining how receptive she would be to my advice while being hopeful if not blindly naive the girl knew how to spell and form clear sentences. How wrong was I. Not only did she have a paper full of fragmented sentences, it seemed as though every sentence contained one misspelled word. If that wasn’t disappointing enough, what really sparked the disbelief in me was seeing her teacher had already proofed the paper and had given her a B.
That’s right – a B. Was a “B” the new “D” I asked.
Now it wasn’t like the child was 8. She was 13 at the time. When I was 13 I was writing for my school junior high newspaper, getting A’s in my English and Writing classes. Why? Because I had a teacher who hammered away at me the importance of a properly formed, perfectly spelled sentence. But here I was presented with a Public School Educator who ignored the fragments and numerous misspelled words.
Well as you can imagine, my attempts at trying to point out the errors ignored (oh PLEASE tell me they were just ignored and not missed!) by the teacher fell on deaf ears. When I pushed the subject she said her English teacher was “just fine” with a paper that still had mistakes on it.
Later in life when I wrote for a parenting publication, the Editor once told me I was such an easy writer to work with, in fact, the easiest writer on Staff. It wasn’t due to my charming personality or my amazing wit. It was due to one thing: I turned in material that didn’t need further editing.
Why am I writing about this topic now? You’re probably wondering that. Or perhaps not. Either way, I’ll tell you why. One of my previously published articles I posted on this site had so many misspelled words, I had to go through and correct them before hitting the “publish” button. Now one may think ‘why did she do that? It isn’t like the paper was written by her. Why does it matter?’
Why does it matter? WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Does it matter that we have voter fraud?
Does it matter that we have rampant poverty?
Does it matter that doctors are by and large peddlers for Big Pharma?
To all of the above: of course!
Therefore, a properly spelled and formatted sentence matters.
Hey that’s my logic anyway. And you must remember this: I am a spelling nazi. And that’s just how we roll.
Happy (properly spelled and formatted) writing!
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