Have you forgotten how to spell?

With today’s technology, it seems like things should be easier and easier, right?


I’m a pretty darn good speller, but I’m finding myself getting worse as time goes on. I blame it on spellcheck, lazy typing (who needs to type well when you have a backspace key), instant messaging (IMing), and text messaging.

Here are some ideas for fixing this growing problem:

1. Spend at least half an hour each week typing without using the backspace key. Force yourself to spell things right the first time. If you make a mistake, leave it.

2. Go back over your typing and circle all the mistakes you made. Write that (likely huge) number in red ink, and make it big, on your paper.

3. Now that you feel bad, promise yourself that that number will decrease each time you practice.

4. When you IM or text message, spell out the words as often as possible. I know it takes more time, but practice makes perfect.

I haven’t tried this method yet, but as I type this I’m finding myself backspacing a little less often than usual. Next time I’ll do better.

What about you? Have you forgotten how to spell or type too? Any tips for the rest of us?

21 Responses to “Have you forgotten how to spell?”

  1. Triphow Ling says:

    I have totally forgotten how to spell. And that’s because of google. Type out a word, if it looks like its not correct, just copy and paste into google, and it’ll spit back the right word.

    Here’s a live example: I’m going to spell out czecoslovakia. Now I know the darn thing is probably wrong, so I copy pasted it into Google, and this is what I get:
    http://www.google.com/search?&q=czecoslovakia Visit the link and you’ll see what I mean.

  2. Proof read, proof read, proof read. If all else fails, have someone else proof read before you submit content to a website, blog, or any other content based websites. Nothing is more annoying than reading something that has spelling errors.

  3. Batterytex says:

    This is so true — computer and internet technology has made us the most spoiled spellers of all generations — we’re always waiting for the computer to think for us. In the era of chat and email, accuracy in spelling is sacrificed for speed.

  4. As time passes by people need to refresh their knowledge about spelling. Shamefully we are failing at situations where a child would done a good job.

  5. Narzuty says:

    Oh how I know what you mean! This is especially visible with languages other than english, that use extra fonts. Not only the same basic mistakes are made, but also national characters (like eg. Polish ?,?,?,?,?) are getting replaced with regular “international” ones.
    This is sad, in a way. But languages evolve and maybe this simplification is just the next step ?

  6. diy help says:

    Ahh! This is kinda true, I did forgot a lot of spellings bcos of the “advance” tech tht we have today. Ur methods are quite helpful but still, it’s all up to someone whether they want to improve themselves or jz let the tech takes their knowledge (spelling) away from time to time…

  7. For me personally I completly agree with what you’ve wrote. However I still use paper to write out somethings. I always seem to spell better when using a pen as opposed to writing at a PC. I really cant explain this.

  8. I think what we need to be wary of is the fact that even if people know how to spell, not as much significance is ascribed to it as before. We need to realize that even in the era of IM, chat and email, spelling is still important.

  9. Baby Say says:

    For quite some time I’ve been a grammar and spelling snob. No doubt, to the annoyance of others, I always email, text, and chat in complete sentences with proper capitalization and punctuation. It only takes me a few extra seconds and I know that my message and intent will be fully understood by the reader. Sometimes people abbreviate their text messages so much that I have no clue what they’re trying to say. By the time we go back and forth with two or three more messages to clarify, they could have written the full message out in complete, proper English and translated it into Latin!

    Baby Say’s last blog post..Even More Baby Card Sayings and New Baby Sayings

  10. Tam says:

    I always try to spell out words in full when sending an SMS text message.
    Not as part of some sort of spelling crusade, but just to assert a style that is a little different from other people. I like to use lenghty words whenever possible too, those that take up the entire width of someone’s phone when they read it.

    Tam’s last blog post..News

  11. Utah Bernina says:

    I just heard a story tonight about a high school yearbook that had tons of kid’s names spelled wrong. I guess they ran everything through spell check, which didn’t know how to spell some of the kid’s names, so it changed them to something in spell check’s dictionary. I think spell check is awful! I never use it. Writing needs to be edited by a human because there are so many different ways to spell a word that is pronounced the same or same spellings for different meanings. The old trick of reading your writing out loud is the best way to catch spelling errors.

    Utah Bernina’s last blog post..Fix A Broken Sewing Machine

  12. Ooh, text messaging and IM are going to be the death of proper spelling! I agree with your idea to spell things out when texting. I do, probably because I don’t know all the abbreviations! Sometimes I worry about where the English language will end up with everybody changing it however they want!

  13. monkee says:

    I confuse my spell check all of the time.

    monkee’s last blog post..By: Steve

  14. Actually, I got better with spelling. Since spell checker got into game ( one year ago I think ), I was able to see all my mistakes as I write them. And by pressing right click on the thin red line, I quickly learned how to spell words.

    Of course, my texts got a lot better too 🙂

    knife sharpener’s last blog post..Diamond Knife Sharpener

  15. Writing like you talk is so important. Spelling like you have a decent education is just as important in my mind. I must admit, I’m somewhat “anal” about this stuff, because it seems like quality writing is such a rarity nowadays.

    cellulite removal’s last blog post..Cellulite Massage: How Effective Is It?

  16. cohnsey says:

    i am totally screwed without spell check. in fact, i will spell check this very post after I am done. lol

  17. Cactii says:

    I really think that all this instant messaging and text messaging communication is hurting the next generation’s grammar!

    I’ve always tried to keep capitalization, spelling and grammar important when I write, I think everybody should put some kind of importance on it.

    Cactii’s last blog post..Summertime Activities with Your GPS

  18. Whatever happened to phonics? You know, computers have some great programs that help you learn how to spell better. Heck, just start writing in Microsoft Word and the spell checker can help you learn how to spell. Come to think of it, the spell checker in general may be part of the problem. People rely on it so much that they dont have to learn how to spell. Kind of like what the calculator did for basic math skills.

  19. Jay says:

    Like others said, I also forgot the correct spelling of a certain word even if it so simple. This advance technology affects my spelling ability. Especially text messaging You tend to shortened the words. This spell check really helps. Thank you for posting this article.

  20. Yeah i have the same problem before. But just knew a friend who recommend me the powerful software like grammar
    checker tool.
    Grammarchecker´s last blog post ..Hello world!

  21. Joe Anderson says:

    It makes no sense to blame technological advances for our problems. People say they’re fat because they drive, don’t read because they watch tv, and anti-social because they sit on their computers. It’s easy for us to assign scape-goats, but instead we should accept helpful tech and use our time saved to not fizzle away.

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