Attention all users of the internet; forum trolls, thread stalkers, meme promoters, and other tube denizens:
Although they melt my soul, I can forgive mistakes associated with “there/they’re/their”, “where/wear”, “it’s/its”, “affect/effect”, and even the egregious “loose/lose”. All of these can be explained by a slip of the mind, a marked lack of education, or even inebriation. They are unfortunate and regrettable, but at times, forgivable.
In comparison, spelling words incorrectly makes you look dumb. Incredibly dumb.
I read thread replies, video comments, and (most tragically) blog posts that look like someone injected Novocaine into their hands and just let their limp, lifeless appendages fall all over the keyboard for a few minutes. I cannot focus on the content of the writing, and more importantly the message trying to be conveyed, when every other word is spelled so badly that my brain dies a little.
I focus on spelling because unlike grammar, syntax, or diction, there is no excuse for spelling things incorrectly. Even if your little pygmy brain can’t remember the proper order of letters in basic words, there are so many tools available that automatically correct your spelling that it borders on absurdity.
Using correct grammar requires some cognitive processing, a concept that I acknowledge a lot of people in the English speaking world are not comfortable with. Correct word choice requires actually knowing what specific words mean, and I can let a below average lexicon slide. At the very least, incorrect grammar and diction can be pretty comical (especially in the case of extreme malapropism), giving it some redeeming character.
Spelling things wrong is just plain unacceptable. It’s not funny, cute, or even remotely endearing. All it does is make you look like a lazy imbecile, whose writing I shouldn’t bother wasting the eye-energy reading. Abbreviations that are just as many characters as the actual word, or mutate the word to add a letter that isn’t even in the original word (cuz, cos) are why people are driven to drink.
Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple’s Safari all have built-in and enabled-by-default spell checkers. Internet Explorer has about 40 plugins available for download that will let you know when you’ve failed at communication. Voluntarily using IE makes me question a person’s capacity for development anyway, but I digress.
It is simple. Makes friends with these:
Introduce yourself to the red squiggles. This universal plague-mark of misspelling is here to help you not look like a third-world degenerate; you should thank it and buy it nice presents (coincidentally, the red squiggles live at my house, so feel free to send the presents there).
If you have been up until now ignoring these little red lines, claiming ignorance as to their purpose, I implore you to recognize their existence and importance. They don’t just show up for fun to make your writing more colorful; consider them screaming alarms that your words are in physical pain. A misspelling is like a wound on the word, this red line like its veritable lifeblood pouring out and pooling underneath. Ignoring these lines is like sealing the fate of these poor, malformed words, and any hope of people taking you seriously.
If your documents, posts, or other assorted keyboard regurgitations start to look like this…
…you should probably try right clicking each word that is underlined with red squiggles and choosing another word from the list that appears. Even if you don’t know what the word that appears means, the computer is clearly smarter than you and you should probably do what it says.
Notice there is a blue line (and sometimes even green lines!) underneath the word “no”. This means that the computer has noticed that you spelled something correctly, but used it incorrectly. Good try!
P.S. For the record, in disclaimer to the second line of this post, I can never forgive “then/than” mistakes. It’s not even kind of hard to know which is which.