Old Man’s Rants, Spelling and Grammar

these wordy things cause so many problems


Recently I posted on twitter my plans to start a opinion series dealing with some issues that catch my interest in the blind community. These aren’t specifically blind only topics, but rather issues which pop up in our little community. I don’t notice all of them, but when I do and they stand out to me I’d like to present them on the blog in a way others might not of thought of. If you have any topics you’d like me to write about, or posts you think I’d be interested in you can let me know @bsg_blog on twitter. In case it isn’t obvious to you already, these are going to be opinion based, and you very well may not agree with me. If this is the case then we can continue the discussion in the comments. Just a heads up, these are going to be what some may consider a “rant”. However even though it is my thoughts on a topic, it is hardly a rant, most of what people call a rant is just someone bitching while pointing their bitchiness in a vague direction. I’m going to attempt to do more than this, and some of these might be fairly long posts as I attempt to do so. I haven’t decided on a format or schedule quite yet, currently it will be one post per topic, but down the road it may be multiple things which have caught my interest over a specific time period. So lets get into the issue I’m going to talk about this time. Something which pops up over and over causing lots of issues. People’s speeling.

I’m going to go into what caused this, and my first thoughts. Expect plenty of F bombs and other “swears”. After that I’m going to attempt to get a bit more thoughtful and actually break it down and talk about the problem in reasonable terms.

Some points to clarify right up front?

I quite frankly don’t give a flying fuck how someone spells, as long as I can understand what they are trying to say and it isn’t glaring obvious. I am not one of these spelling and grammar Nazis, nor could I ever be one of them. The only point where this could ever get on my nerves is if something is a simple fix and folks aren’t trying to fix it, or to say it in a more straight forward way. If someone is too god damn lazy to do something about it. I believe this is the case for allot of people, they don’t care so much about the lack of grammar and spelling, it is the annoyance that someone keeps doing something without attempting to fix it. I’m going to come to this point later on to show what I mean about this, and to get every other person to put this into perspective.

I am not talking about texting and social media short hand when talking about spelling and grammar. This is something which has evolved or devolved as the platforms have also evolved or devolved. If this is something you don’t like then realize there are plenty of people out there who don’t like your favorite food. This is just your personal preference, and has nothing to do with the topic of spelling and grammar. If one is writing a term paper then they aren’t going to use lol bc or w/ as shorthand, but in a casual social place it is perfectly acceptable. If you don’t like it, best advice, get over it and shut up about it. I personally don’t like it either but guess what, no one gives a shit and no one wants to hear about it.

The final point before I get started. If you think spelling makes you a better person, smarter, better spoken, or better in any way, please go fuck yourself. More on this later.

What got this started, the old man rant section

More and more I’m seeing people using the spelling of another person to criticize a point said person is trying to make. This literally does nothing but make the one doing the criticizing look like a giant engorged bag of cold douche. Honestly, when I see this the first thing that comes to mind is, “Okay cool, this fucking douche has no point to make in the discussion and they just forfeited the right to make any point later because they can’t add to the actual discussion.” Your ability to spell has 0 to do with how much you know about a topic or how smart you are. This is not a valid argument against the person who has a opposing opinion. All you are doing is changing the topic, this has become the commonly accepted equal to suddenly shouting “look a squirrel” in the middle of an argument.

This wouldn’t be such a big deal if people weren’t actively using this to try and discredit a person’s point of view. Adding to this people aren’t even thinking before they do it. Recently we had a flame fest on ag.net about someone disagreeing with the majority, and when it came to twitter I saw multiple comments about how the person can’t spell. This was their first argument against what was said. I honestly imagine folks like this saying what they do directly followed by them getting off their computers and having sex with their silicone pocket dictionary feeling secure in their status as elite humans. In this case the bitching was a result of someone who is speaking English as a second language. Someone who was writing on the forums with incorrect spelling and grammar yes, but again, as their second fucking language. Because they used spelling and grammar which wasn’t on the same level as someone born speaking and writing it they are being insulted. Was what they said readable and understandable, yes. Did it have grammar and spelling mistakes, yes. Was that an argument against the point they were trying to make, fuck no. Does this specific post probably have mistakes in it, yes. Does that make me wrong, fuck no. If you think it is okay to shit on what someone is saying because they make spelling or grammar mistakes when writing in their first, second, third, or tenth language you are just a douche, there is no other way to put it. Just shut the hell up with that shit, no one wants to hear it. The only reason people don’t call you out about it more often is because you are agreeing with their point and they are too damn insecure to call you out for being a dick.

Before ending this section I felt it would be good to leave everyone with a few people who are famously known for their inability to spell. Jane Austen, Winston Churchill, Agatha Christie, Albert Einstein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Benjamin Franklin, and Ernest Hemingway. This is just listing a few of them, you can look it up yourself and see lists and lists pointing out great historical figures who couldn’t spell. If you think you are better than all of these individuals then simply go buy a ticket for narcissistville and leave everyone else alone. To put simply, you are wrong.
I see this type of behavior all the time on twitter, on ag.net, and I’m sure it would be all over Facebook as well but I don’t go on that dumpster fire. This shit gets on my nerves nearly on a daily basis and there is rarely anything said to these egotistical douche bags spewing their self appointed elitism. No one wants to read it, see it, hear it, but still it pops up all the time and no one ever says anything. This all comes from the misunderstanding that spelling and grammar are a sign of higher intelligence. This simply is not true however. Some people are born with the ability to spell perfect while being dumb as a pail of hair,, others are considered a genius while not being able to spell jack diddly shit. It is simply how one expresses themselves, keep this in mind for the next part.

Getting More In Depth, post coitus thoughts on the topic

No matter who you are everyone has their own opinion on what is too far when dealing with spelling and grammar mistakes. For me my standards are pretty fast and loose. As long as I can understand someone then I’m all good, This has been my stance all my life. For others it isn’t even a big deal as long as someone is willing to actively work on their mistakes and doesn’t make the same obvious mistakes over and over. Others simply are not happy unless everyone writes like their hands are blessed by holy water. For the first two this brings up questions which separates everyone into different camps, for the third…well I honestly don’t give a shit about people like this so I don’t care what they think. However, for being understandable, or being able to fix obvious mistakes. what is the arbitrary line which makes someone understandable, and what dictates being able to tell if someone is working on fixing their mistakes, and more so what is the definitive guide on what an obvious mistake is?

For the first topic I think most people would have the same answer. Being understandable is simply being understandable. Can you fully understand the point someone is trying to convey even with their mistakes. This is where the problem lies however, each person has a different level where it passes from being okay to being ungood. If I was going to use texting slang my level of understanding would be very low as I don’t know what hardly any of it means. Someone adept in using this slang would be perfectly okay with it. With someone who writes in ebonics, again my level of understanding would be very limited as I am not up to date on the slang.
I know these examples focus on specific ways of writing and spelling, but I’m only using these as examples to illustrate my point. Each person is different. We all have our own levels of how much we can put up with before it crosses our own arbitrary line. Of course the setting of where it is being written matters as well, and this should be taken into consideration when thinking about being a douche and pointing out someone’s spelling and grammar.

Now if you dive into the tangled mess of what makes up obvious mistakes and how to tell if someone cares enough to work on fixing it. First you have to consider why, I mean honestly why does it matter so much to someone? I don’t have an answer to this, and I can’t put myself into the head of someone who does care. Hopefully one of these folks can post in the comments expressing what it is because I am honestly curious.
That being set aside, who decides the arbitrary line of what is an obvious mistake? For someone spelling very with one R instead of two might be something they have been trying to work on their whole life and one which they still do on accident from time to time. For another it may be spelling the word restaurant cause it is on crack and makes no fucking phonetic sense. Everyone is different, and there is no way to determine what is okay to misspell and what isn’t. Each person has their own idea of what is okay, but then holding everyone to that one standard is again a bit of an issue because you are assuming your standards should be applied to everyone because they are best.
In the same vein. How do you determine if someone is lazy and doesn’t fix their problems, or if they are trying to fix it but still making mistakes more often than not? This one I don’t have an answer for. I’ve thought about this quite a bit and can’t come up with something which is reasonable. Maybe for the individual spelling just isn’t a priority in their life. Maybe they have tried and still can’t commit the proper spelling and grammar to memory. Maybe they just don’t know they are spelling stuff wrong and no one has ever pointed it out to them. That last one is a bit like finding a virgin stripper in a strip club who says she just hasn’t ever been hit on. Overall it is impossible to tell if someone is or isn’t working on fixing the problem, and it is a bit off putting to decide it is a problem they need to work on for them. Everyone decides what they believe to be important, and for some this may not be spelling and grammar. Do I agree with this, no of course I don’t. I also say this when according to me my spelling is fucking terrible though some believe it is not. That doesn’t matter what another thinks about it however, if it is something I decide to work on then it is important, not if someone else believes it for me. When we boil it down writing is only a way for us to all express ourselves, but this is the same for many things, our choice of clothing, hair style, everything in how people perceive us. You may not agree with someone’s ideas on what is important, but that is not your job to tell them what is important to them, everyone makes that decision on their own.

so what can be done, conclusion

First off just because I don’t feel I’ve said it enough yet. Don’t be a douche bag and for the most part no one will have problems. You aren’t a better person if you can spell or if you can point out how someone else can’t. Realize this and stop trying to pull this shit. Don’t confuse this with trying to help someone in a constructive way however. Offering to help someone is perfectly fine, but not when doing it to discredit them. The only thing you do is look like an egotistical cock splat who no one wants to be around.
If you can’t spell and want to fix it, I’d say go old fashion. With words you know you have problems with simply write them over and over 50 or 100 times. Believe me it fixes it. Back in the day I got so damn annoyed at constantly spelling restaurant wrong I just spent 10 minutes writing it over and over. That was all it took. I just needed the brain equivalent to muscle memory of writing it correctly and that was all it took. Try speaking it if writing doesn’t work. For grammar just google the problem, there are plenty of accessible online worksheets from beginner to advanced. If you want to fix it then you can’t expect it to happen by magic, you actually have to work on it.
If someone is spelling common words wrong then go ahead and point it out to them, but don’t use that as a reason to criticize what they are saying. It is a fine line to dance, that of offering help and coming across as a jerk. Everyone will take it differently I’m sure. If someone doesn’t care enough to fix it then it is your decision to determine if this says so much about someone that you don’t want to talk to them anymore, but it doesn’t say anything about their intelligence. For example for me personally if someone has a mullet this speaks volumes for me, and I would really have to think twice before getting to know them more. However this says nothing about how smart they are, and if we are arguing them having a mullet doesn’t detract or add to any of their points unless we are talking about the best rock of the 70s and 80s. Not all people view their spelling and grammar as a priority, this can be considered bad by many, but it is not a tool to be used against them.

P.S: I misspelled spelling as speeling intentionally in the beginning, if you were going to point that out to detract from what I had to say in this post you can simply go have intercourse with a farm animal.

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7 Replies to “Old Man’s Rants, Spelling and Grammar

  1. I agree Smoke. Sadly though, most of who critisize people’s spelling are those who are not natively english and are just proud of how much they improved. And yes I know nvda told me I misspelled criticize wrongly

  2. Let me give you a slightly different perspective. As someone who reads sometimes with a screen reader and sometimes visually, it gives me a bit of a rare viewpoint. I can see this from the perspective of a sighted person trying to read a bad speller’s writing, and as someone who has a synthesizer make sense of it. While reading visually, I’ve stared at a word that a synthesizer pronounces exactly like the correct spelling (or damned close to it) for five minutes before I realized what the word was supposed to be. If you spell the zodiac sign Gemini (G-e-m-i-n-i) correctly, I know instantly what it is whether I’m using speech or my malfunctioning eyeball. But if you spell it Jemanai (J-e-m-a-n-a-i) I’m going to stare at it for a very long time before I realize what you mean if I’m reading with the eyeball, but probably not take but half a second if I’m reading with a screenreader. And herein lies the issue. And it’s one hell of a bugaboo issue. We live in a sighted world. In general, more people read what we write visually than via audio. If people can’t understand you, you have a problem. Those who read purely through audio means are at a distinct disadvantage. This is through no fault of their own. I (generally) do not blame audio readers for their poor spelling…if all you know is how it sounds and have a fairly basic phonetic understanding, then you’ll get a lot of things right, but because the English language is a douche, you’ll also get a lot of things wrong. Not everyone can read braille for one reason or another (I’m one of them, which is why I struggle with my eyeball so much). Not everyone has the ability to experience letters in words. But if you spell words phonetically that *look* (no, it’s not a curse word) so differently from how they’re spelled, you’re going to have an issue if someone is reading what you write without a screen reader…or sometimes using a different synthesizer than you are. Unfortunately as a collective global society, we are judgemental as fuck. Therefore, people are going to judge you on the presentation of your communication. If you walk in a room and talk with a mush-mouth (without a medical reason), people are going to discount you as dumb too. If you want a job, if you want to be seen as a professional, it’s something you’ll need to work on. Otherwise, the world at large won’t take you seriously. However, if you only want to write to friends who are using the same speech synthesizer as you, no problem. But if anyone you write to reads with eyeballs, braille, or with another synth, they’re going to have a hard time understanding. Flip side…guess what? Sighted people mix up “their,” “there,” and “they’re” too! No one is perfect. I’m a copy-editor and my job requires me to have perfect spelling. But guess what? When I step away from my work, I’m still human. I have to look things up. (When in doubt, ask Google). There are tools to help even audio readers. Google for looking up words here and there (I do it more than you probably think, Smoke!), TinySpell (a little free program that runs in the background) and even some screen readers have the ability to notify you when they see something misspelled. I will never berate someone on their spelling (or grammar), but unfortunately the world at large will.

    1. I understand the eyeballs thing, before I was blind I in general didn’t had an issue with it, but I can see how some might. Something like grammar never got in the way, but if something was spelled in a terrible way sometimes I would get stuck on it.

      1. Grammar isn’t generally as much of an issue as a very butchered word. However, I’ve had someone’s grammar be so entangled that I couldn’t get their meaning. So in the end, both of these impact others…unfortunately a person’s bad spelling (and grammar) don’t just impact them, it also impacts those that are trying to understand them. And while with one synthesizer, your spelling mistakes may sound just fine, in another, they may be gibberish.

  3. got to agree. Even if I did point out sometimes mistakes, and I won’t deny that it was even on a public forum once, It was never to discredit them. Just to show that to them, and if it was on a social network like skype, twitter and such then mostly to be a jurk to be honest. Pointing out mistakes is perfectly ok, but discrediting someone because they don’t have perfect English or such just makes you look stupid and childish. About when I point out mistakes, basicly, as long as they didn’t make a mistake that would make sinths read the word completely different, I don’t complain, infact I hardly notice it. Sure, there are still problems, mainly with different sinths, but as long as I can understand them, there is no reason why I should complain. And btw, I did notice that spelling error, but I know that it was intentionally put there, I am still not sure why, but I know that you have your own reasons and it’s not my need to know them.

    1. Mainly because I know people have a tendency to read something and not make it to the end. So if they read the first paragraph and decided to point out how they can’t read a post on spelling when the word spelling is misspelled, well they could make an ass of themselves all on their own without me having to point it out.

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