We have had several comments about grammar and spelling on this site so I thought a poll might be in order.

As someone who corrected spelling for over 30 years, I am finding myself becoming less and less upset by the mistakes but more and more amused.  

I agree with vos Savant, especially with my own work.  I check my posts at least once before posting and I am horrified if I missed even a simple typo.  Lazy spelling especially with the advantage of spell checkers might indicate lazy thought.

At the same time, as Mencken suggests, we shouldn’t ignore the content of someone’s ideas because words are spelled incorrectly.  Getting caught up in the trivial at the expense of the profound doesn’t do us much good.


If your only impression of a person is from their writing, then you tend to make a bunch of assumptions based on that little bit of information that you have.  It may not be right, but that’s how the human brain works – it makes quick initial judgements based on a little bit of information.

So if you’re listening to a guy being interviewed on the radio and he stutters or mumbles, then your impression of that person is based on that little snip of audio.  And it isn’t a good impression.

If the first time you see someone on TV he is sweating, his eyes are flicking back and forth, and he is blinking a lot, then you’re going to base your impression of that person on those few seconds of video. 

Unless you know some of the people on HTMF in real life, then all you have to go on is what they write.  And if they write like an illiterate 12-year old, then that’s your initial impression of the person. 

Even if a person has an important and thoughtful message, if he can’t express it properly in the chosen medium, then it won’t get across.  The content doesn’t matter if you can’t communicate it.

The medium is indeed the message, right?

That changes, of course, if you know the person in real life.  If you were to make the same spelling and grammar errors that others have made, DWhite, I don’t think anybody who knows you in real life would judge you based on a few badly crafted posts. 

Nobody’s expecting online communication to be perfect.  Your posts on HTMF aren’t being graded.  We all make errors, and nobody’s perfect. 

But…  in the absence of other factors, you are being judged by the quality of your posts. 

What really grinds my gears, though, is when someone corrects others’ grammar or spelling when they aren’t perfect themselves.  It seems to be an attempt to show how intelligent you are, and it fails miserably, in my opinion. 

These are the people who would criticize Neil Armstrong’s famous speech on the moon.  As if that somehow makes them smarter than Armstrong or demean his accomplishment.

Pointing out that someone mixed up ‘they’re’ with ‘their’ or ‘there’ doesn’t make you smarter than them.  And in the absence of other information about you, it makes you seem petty.

You nailed it there MiG.  We had a recent example of that kind of situation in a fairly recent thread.  Showing intelligence is understanding that mistakes are human and that htmf isn’t a formal writing class. 

However, one would wish that people who consistently write posts that are hard to read, whether it is from poor grammar and spelling or from the lack of punctuation and spacing, could maybe make an effort and use some other members as model (DWhite comes to mind :wink:).

English isn’t my first language so I had to rely on good models to learn to write.  I, like DWhite, check every message I post on htmf.  But my editing skills are not on par with those of an experienced English teacher so I am sure that none of my posts are perfect.  But I think they are readable and that my message is not lost because the mistakes are too numerous to get through. 

Who said that this site was devoid of intelligent discussions? :smiley:

LOL ! This one is outside of the norm! I totally agree that how you post, re: grammatical errors, punctuation and spelling show how either you are to lazy to check or just don’t care how others see you. It pays to use the spell check!

And how can someone argue logically when their poor spelling and grammar sews confusion. I’m actually somewhat like MiG in that it’s become more amusing to me. I’d like to be able make sense of something without having to proofread as I go.

I’m also guilty of not proofreading my own stuff and have left a trail of typos. I vow to do better. I hope some others do also.

If we’re going to look for things to cavil at how about “sows” instead of “sews”

The best quote I have read on this subject, “Never forget:  Punctuation can mean the difference between a second date and a restraining order.” 
Correct spelling, punctuation, and the like, is about having power.  Those who can spell or use punctuation correctly have power.  Those who can’t, don’t.

Proper grammar can be the difference between a lot of things…

“I helped my uncle Jack off a horse.”


“I helped my uncle Jack, off a horse.”

Edit: There, I fixed it. Now you can all sleep soundly.

If someone is posting stuff that looks like crap grammar simply because they honestly don’t know any better, that is one thing. If it’s because they are too drunk, stoned or too lazy to bother correcting their posts, that is another. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes hard for a reader to discern what was going on when the hands hit the keyboard and while it can be amusing, it’s getting harder and harder to take these posters seriously.

I’ll say this much, while my teens might send me occasional quick emails that are rushed and look it, they at least try to make most of our online cross-talk legible. So if they can make the effort, I think those posters who are sending off posts that read like something the cat dragged in need to at least think twice before they hit the “post” button. A goof and his words are soon parted…


I think you mean “a lot”, not “alot”.   :imp:

I know, but it looks retarded.

Are we talking about a parking lot now? That’s what typing a lot looks like to me.

If you don’t like how words look when used correctly, pick a different word.  In your sentence “often” would have worked.  Don’t invent words just to please yourself.

Right, other than both of your examples being spelled exactly the same, you’ve misspelled ‘a lot,’ as Dave has pointed out.  So neither of those examples are about spelling as you claim, but about punctuation.

If you’re trying to show us how intelligent you are, you’re going in the wrong direction, bubba.  If I didn’t know you outside of HTMF, I’d have to base my opinion of you just on what I read here.  I know you’re not petty and insecure, so why would you want to come across that way? 

I didn’t invent it.
I’m not the one who makes all the spelling mistakes around here. You don’t have to get picky at me. This thread isn’t about being picky, it’s about people who murder the spelling of too many words, which makes their posts almost unreadable.

I don’t know anyone who can’t understand my posts on this board. Or am I mistaken? If so, please, don’t hesitate to correct me.

Sheesh, everyone so angry on here.

Make a few mistakes and it’s a march to the electric chair.

My request for a last meal, is a New york steak dinner, with pie for dessert. Apple is preferred. Just in case you wanted to know.

That one I did on purpose. I find it quite jarring to my brain. I may not have consciously registered the error, but I get a mental hiccup. Too many of those and I reject anything the person has to say.

I’m not angry at all.  It’s your writing, not mine.  I simply pointed out a small error, which seemed funny (har! har!), given that you were writing about spelling.

Why are we picking at eachother? We’re the good spellers. Heh. Lets form a mob, and lynch the guilty ones.

When I first arrived in Rupert in the mid-sixties, my spoken English was still in its infancy. One of my preferred food market was De Greef Delicatessen located on second Avenue West just across the street from the BC Tel building.  At the time, they sold smoked sausages, a huge variety of cheeses, breads and pastries and many other delicacies.  I was a shy young lad at the time and the store clerk was a very pretty young girl about my age.  And, while standing in front of the pastry display I asked her for a “square date”.  She appeared quite shocked for a short moment until she caught my eyes looking at the pastry being displayed behind the glass counter.  At once her lips formed a beautiful grin and she replied: “you mean…date square don’t you?”  I said yes "date square’.  While walking out of the store a sudden flash crossed my mind and I soon realized my linguistic faux pas.  However, deep down in my soul I think I had really meant ‘square date’…she was sooo pretty.

Unlike French,  English places its noun before the past participle and adjective.

I agree!! LOL
We shall follow you …

Yes. Let’s form a mob and lynch the guilty ones.  :smiley:

Sorry, I could not resist.