19th July, 2011
Sometimes I feel like I’m spending an unjustifiable amount of time getting the wording in emails or other forms of communications right and I will run emails past colleagues just to be sure. And without a spell check on every computer I would be lost. I always think that this is partially due to the fact that English is not my first language and I haven’t had the opportunity to learn all the ins and outs at school. However, the plus side is that I have a nice feeling of achievement if my suggestions for sentence structure or use of words are taken up, and a childish pleasure if I can find spelling mistakes in official documents. But I do understand that language is a living breathing thing and will change over time. The question is when those changes settle in, what will be acceptable and what won’t be. I am a firm believer in rules and strict guidelines (now there is German heritage for you) when it comes to the written word – not a sentiment everyone shares.
But I was quite reassured in my belief, coming across a BBC news article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14130854) the other day.
Charles Duncombe, an online entrepreneur, says that poor spelling is costing the UK millions of pounds in lost revenue for internet businesses and says finding staff who can spell is a big problem. According to Mr Duncombe many applications of school and university leavers contain spelling mistakes and/or poor grammar and some even use text speak (Oh, I hear you Mr Duncombe!) And taking the PC spell checker away (please don’t!) even more problems are unearthed.
But does spelling really matter when using the Internet and new media? According to the article it does. Mr Duncombe measured the revenue per visitor to the thightsplease.co.uk website and found that the revenue was twice as high after an error was corrected.
So, the old saying ‘If you do something, do it right’ still applies in my opinion. You can use every medium and new media you can think of – if your message looks like you don’t care, why should your audience?
Though my favourite saying has always been ‘A synonym is the word you use if you can’t spell the other one’ – something I do a lot.