As a professional business person, how do you want to be perceived? Even something as seemingly insignificant as spelling can determine whether others believe you’re competent or sloppy. Take a moment, and think about that.
Ask yourself, “Are my customers likely to want my services if I can’t be bothered with the details of spelling a word correctly?” The answer is no.
Okay, so your customers may not go running down the street to find someone else at the first sign of a misspelled word. However, misspellings and typos certainly don’t add to your credibility. Recognize that spelling counts.
Computer Spell Check Function
Since the advent of the spell check function on the computer, many people believe (incorrectly) that spelling skills are no longer necessary. Don’t misunderstand. There’s nothing wrong with using the spell checker. In fact, it’s a great device, and should be utilized all the time.
However, the intended use for this tool is for reference, not as your only source for catching errors. There’s only one acceptable tool for that—your brain. (Phooey! You were hoping I had a magic wand to wave over the email screen!)
Verify Versus Correct
Why do you need to know how to spell? Because you can use the wrong word for the occasion and still manage to spell that wrong word correctly. When this happens, the spell checker won’t recognize your error. The checker only verifies that words are spelled correctly. It doesn’t verify that you have used the proper word.
“Little” words in particular are notorious for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You should pay special attention to these potential hazards when typing.
Here are a few examples of pairs that are often mistaken for each other (and, hence, often missed when proofreading): “for” and “from”; “it,” “is,” and “if”; “you”
and “your.” Because your eyes sweep over them, these little words are easy to miss.
The spell checker also won’t correct new words. And, computers and technology have created a whole set of new words. You will need to know how to spell them when your spell checker spits them out.
A perfect example is the spelling of the hi-tech word “email.” In addition to that spelling, there are at least two other versions: “e-mail” and “e mail.” For this article, I chose “email” as the preferred spelling. Why?
There are three reasons. One, the word “email” is faster to type since there’s no hyphen and no space. Two, there are fewer opportunities to make typos if you aren’t typing a hyphen. Three, the word “email” simply appears neater and clearer.
If you still have any doubts about using your brain versus the spell checker, read the following humorous poem.
Spell Chequer Poem
Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
I’m sorry to say the source of this delightful poem is unknown. I’ve tried to track down the author. If you have information, please send it to: email@example.com. Thanks!
In addition to amusement, the purpose of sharing this poem is to remind you to proofread carefully. You can’t leave a positive impression on customers and colleagues with sloppy email messages.