The World According to Renee

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Adventures in Spelling

I am one of those people who are secretly judging you when you post Facebook statuses, comments and emails. I want to edit your posts, run a red line through your spelling mistakes and point out that you’re wrong. It’s not because I want you to feel stupid, it’s because I want you to be empowered by the art of our English language. I love the English language with all its nuances and weird rules. I love the fluidity of this language, I love how words change meaning over time and how Shakespeare’s English is so different to my English.

Over the past week or so, I have been posting Facebook statuses with commonly misused words, such as your/you’re and there/their/they’re. Although I’ve never had a problem knowing which one to use, I know that a lot of other people do (to be fair, a lot of people finds maths easy, I don’t. Numbers confuse me). Some of the comments I’ve received surprise me. I’ve had people say they didn’t know there was a difference between certain words, as opposed to knowing there was a difference but not knowing which one to use in any given sentence. I’ve had people comment that they finally understand the difference. Others say they thought these words were spelled the same but meant different things.

There’s clearly a gap in the education system. This epidemic of spelling abominations isn’t confined to young people. There are well-educated, middle-aged adults who have just as much trouble deciding which word is right for what they want to write. And that’s just spelling, never mind the myriad of grammatical rules which should apply (and am deliberately breaking within this post!)

It’s said that English is one of the hardest languages to learn. I don’t know how true that is, I haven’t bothered to learn anything else except some very basic French. However, when I read poems such as this, and the old “i before e except after c” rule, it’s pretty clear that English has a lot to answer for!

The best advice I can offer is this: when you’re writing and unsure of which word you need, Google each definition and see which one fits. Or use a dictionary, but you have to be sure how to spell the word first! And after you’ve asked Google, ask a friend who is proficient with words to read it over for you.

March 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment