Check yourself, spell check.

I can’t spell.

I admitted this earlier, and I’m back to say: it’s true. Sadly, sadly true.

This is not from lack of trying. I’m not a stupid person, and both of my parents were teachers. I come from an era before the internet, when spelling questions were answered with “go look it up in the dictionary.”

[an aside: has this ever made sense as a piece of advice? Look it up? How the hell am I supposed to find it if I don’t know how to spell it? If I knew where to find it, I wouldn’t need the damned help in the first place!]

We had a very large dictionary and, generally, I did my best. And, most of the time, my mother had to save me anyway.

I am a terrible speller. I remember in junior high, a teacher suggesting, none-too-gently, that my family might invest in a spell check device for our computer (as this was back in the day before those were built in). My father scoffed– apparently he had greater faith that I’d finally come around than anyone else.

I didn’t. When we finally got a computer with spell check, it was glorious. Suddenly I was able to write a paper, stories, without looking like I’d hit my head several times before sitting in front of the keyboard. Any atrocious first tries at a word were a secret between me and the computer.

Things have only gotten better since browsers introduced the same. In the pursuit of whole honesty, I’ve misspelled at least ten words in this entry already, and Chrome has pointed them out to me. THANK YOU, CHROME. Writing a blog about writing is infinitely more difficult when you appear to be unable to spell your way out of a paper bag.

The running theory is mild dyslexia. Considering the words I consistently misspell, and my inability to sound words out, this is probably not a bad theory. As it is, I’ve never been tested, so I won’t claim it. As a child, I did all the spelling drills, learned all the rules, but nothing stuck. I only learned to spell “exhausted” last year. Shouldn’t there be a G in there somewhere?

I have managed to baffle a spell check more than once. I have created words that it can’t even lob a guess at, let alone a wrong one, as though I switched to a dead language mid-typing. I can’t decide if this is a talent and, if it is, if it’s a marketable one. Surely a circus somewhere could use me.

It has been said that spell check has made us lazy. This could be true, but, in my case, and, I’m sure, many others, it’s only made our lives better. We’re not stupid people, we simply can’t spell. I say, rage on, spell check.

You light up my life.

PS. Welcome and THANK YOU to all my new readers! I would love to comment back to each and every one of you, but got very quickly overwhelmed and squealed a lot. Be it known that I appreciate every comment, even if you disagree (and are therefore wrong). It’s been awesome to suddenly have this many people in my little blog, and finding out that the internet does like to gather for some jokes about poo, still. We are the world.


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9 responses to “Check yourself, spell check.”

  1. VivBlogs says :

    I can’t spell “weird” right the first time. I always spell it “wierd” and then get checked.

  2. Hakuna Matata says :

    Nice and honest post. When I was young, and English is not my mother tongue, I was sent to an English medium school where English, then became my medium of education. But when one is so young, you seem to lap up what is taught to you. Our teachers taught us to break up words to ease the learning process, e.g. pos-ting, blog-ging, etc. Then we’d be given spelling homework when we would have to write every new word that we came across in a lesson thrice. It seem to work!

  3. crisveijk says :

    I cannot spell Australia.

    My spelling normally isn’t so bad in English, but weirdly enough it is in Dutch. I just don’t write in it very often, so it’s swiftly gone downhill fast.

  4. WT Dufrane says :

    LC….Can you help me with something? I’m new to this blogging stuff and I was wondering if there is a way to leave comments (such as on your site) without having to jump through hoops and log in every time.

  5. rossmurray1 says :

    “Embarrass” is my Achilles heel. And yet no problem spelling “Achilles”…

    Do you know, though, or at least suspect that you’ve misspelled a word? It’s the words that we think are right that can sometimes make us look most foolish. I had to break it to a reporter once that the word was “bonfire,” not “bomb fire.”

  6. drishism says :

    My spelling is worst when I am in front of a class room speaking, and then I turn to write it out on the board. With 100 to 500 eyes watching me, my brain usually panics and I’m like… uh… how do I spell this?

  7. mjn2435 says :

    All I have on this, and many of your posts… amen.

  8. mgm75 says :

    Do you ever get a time when you know you’ve spelt a word right but it looks wrong? You read it and read it, re-type it perhaps but it just looks… peculiar as though you’re seeng it only for the first time?

    Just a random thought. I’m generally pretty good at spelling or guessing the correct spelling of words that are new to me but sometimes I guess my brain just goes peculiar and words like “peculiar” just look peculiar.

  9. Parking Space Bagel says :

    I’m sure I appear to be a buffoon as I sit here reading your post and laughing uncontrollably at my local Starbucks. (And yes, I did have to look up the proper spelling of buffoon.) Your post resonated with me on every level from “go look it up in the dictionary” to the “running theory of mild dyslexia”. I cannot wait to read future posts. Write on!

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