You know those words; the ones that make your skin crawl and set your teeth to grind mode when you see them? What’s up with those people anyway? Don’t they know how to spell? Did they nap all through elementary school?
I’m sure that people have always misspelled words since the dawn of written language. I imagine there were times when someone was meticulously documenting important information inside a cave and suddenly slapped themselves on the forehead once they realized they had drawn a bird instead of a horse. Where was spell-check when they needed it?
Now, we do have spell-check and it is embedded is most of the applications we use everyday – email, smartphones and social networking sites. Still, it seems that many of us take all those spelling and grammar rules as a gentle suggestion (kind of like when your mom says you should wear a jacket, but you know full well that only the nerdy kids listen to their moms and choose to ignore her).
We remember how to spell correctly, we just don’t always do it. My scientific/off-the-top-of-my-head analysis points to a number of possibilities: We don’t know we’re making a mistake and can’t be held responsible; we know we’re making a mistake and don’t care; we know we’re making a mistake, but think it’s cute/cool; we just copied someone else, so it’s their fault.
Possible contributing factors and personal observations:
We’re busy: Who has the time to re-read that email or tweet before sending it? Sure, there’s that red line underneath the word screaming out to alert us to the fact that the computer’s dictionary doesn’t recognize the word, but we’re not going to let the dictionary tell us what to write now, are we?
Fat thumbs: Give us the most user-friendly way to type on a phone and, still, we make mistakes. Doesn’t that footer Sent from my iphone excuse all virtual grammatical sins?
Contractions are really hard: When you want to shorten “you are,” the result is not “your.” Even when you spell it that way often, it’s still wrong. Stop it.
Words that sound alike are really hard: “Where are they?” “Their (or there) at the store.” <cue: nails on a chalkboard>
Character counts: When we’re using Twitter or SMS text messages, we are limited to a certain number of characters and this tends to lead to a lot of creativity. I get this, but I don’t get why I see these same abbreviations in emails or other communications.
Say what: I’ve heard people of all ages use text-speak in conversation. Trust me, it’s a special experience to hear LOL or WTF during a conversation. If we’re talking, I won’t charge you for the extra words, I promise. If you want to laugh, go ahead and laugh; restraining yourself to LOL really isn’t necessary.
I’m old: Is this just another one of my many “Get off my lawn” moments and I’m making much ado about nothing? Is this something that only those of us of a certain age allow to get under our skin?
Which words, abbreviations and acronyms do you see used online which really get your skin crawling? C ya l8r, thxbye.
Image courtesy of trpnblies7