Spelling. Why it’s a total nightmare.​

Can you spell Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

Obviously you can now. But could you if I hadn’t spelt it for you?

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is one of those words that children use in one of their favourite games: Outwit the grown-up. The particular variation on this theme I am thinking of is this.

Child: “Dad? Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – can you spell it?”

Dad: “Erm… S-U-P-E-R-C-A-L-erm,Y? I? Double L?”

Child: “Do you give up?”

Dad, frazzled: “Yes.”

Child, smirking: “I-T. I asked if you could spell IT! Hahahahahahahaha!”

Spelling is a problem for everyone.

Everyone. There is not a person alive who can spell every single word in the English language correctly.

Those of us who are blessed to be able to spell fairly well have words we struggle with. And there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to them.

Perhaps there is, but I’m darned if I can spot it.

For example. I spelt Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious correctly when I sat down to write this blog. But here’s the strange thing.

Whenever I write the word “Calendar” I have to look it up. It never looks right to me. I’m sure it should be spelt Calender, but clearly I’m wrong.

Why? Who knows? But there it is.

Similarly, I have to check that I’ve not added an extra “e” onto the end of transfer or miss out the second “d” in address.

Spelling is a curious thing. It’s hard for some, easy for others and certainly not a sign of intelligence. And even if, like me, you don’t particularly struggle with spelling, there always seem to be one or two words which regularly flummox you.

Auto-correct can help, but not with words like “duel/dual” and “bear/bare”.

Is spelling important?

Some would say that it isn’t, but I would disagree, especially on business websites.

Spelling correctly is just a matter of taking the time to check that your words are spelt correctly.

Not doing that basically says to your customers “I can’t be bothered” and that is not a good message to be sending out. I think we can all agree on that.

And the fact of the matter is that whether you’re an accountant or a plumber, incorrect spelling on your website and marketing materials just looks unprofessional. That’s just the way it is.

How do I improve my spelling?

Check it, check it and check it again.

Don’t rely on auto-correct. As illustrated above, it can be deceptive.

Ask someone else – a friend, a relative – to check it for you. Two sets of eyes make all the difference.

The alternative, obviously, is asking a writer like me to write your copy for you. Give me a call on 07714 102661, email me on andrew@strictlywords.co.uk or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

If you’re on LinkedIn, connect with me using the button on the right. If you’d like to read all my LinkedIn posts about grammar and spelling, follow the hashtag #andrewonwriting by clicking this link here and selecting “follow”


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