In regards to my spelling

November 4th, 2007
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There’s something somewhat personal which I think I’m going to have to address, because it just keeps coming up over and over. Quite frankly, spelling is not one of my strong points, and I’ve become rather tired having it pointed out in insulting or backhanded ways which are intended to write off the content of posts by attempting to equate poor spelling with being a complete idiot.

Let me give some background: When I was a kid I had a touch of dyslexia, which I since outgrown. I was somewhat ADD. This may have been less of a problem if not for the fact that I began grade school in a Catholic school which had only one classroom per grade and was too small to offer even the most basic of attention to such students. Also, they used a rather stupid non-phonetic spelling/reading teaching that didn’t really work well on anyone. Whether or not it’s the fact that I didn’t establish these good spelling skills early in my life or that I’m just not very gifted in the area which leaves me unable to spell to save my life I do not know.

Throughout my accademic career I did very well in english, grammar and reading areas which were not judged directly by spelling abilities. My reading comprehension was at the top of my high school, which had a class of over 600. I did consistently well in persuasive writing and scored in the 99th percentile in both the verbal and written parts of the SAT/PSAT tests. (spelling was not part of the test) I’m not saying this to try to come off as pompous, but rather simply to illustrate that my spelling abilities (or lack there of) are not really indicative of other abilities, even of the same nature. My grammar is also better than average, but that’s not really saying much.

Keeping this website well-spelled:

Because of this combined with the fact that I am not a perfect typist, and have a tendency to make the occasional typographical error, I generate a rather large number of misspelled words. Recognizing the importance of presenting a website in a manner which is professional and well edited, I do what I can to avoid these showing up in posts. Obviously, I use a spell check and do what I can to proofread my posts. However this site is basically a one-man operation and it’s not my full time job either. It might be possible for me to eradicate spelling errors, if I very carefully checked, read and re-read each post and looked up words whenever in doubt, but that would add a great deal of work to keeping up the site.

I’ve put a lot of effort into keeping this site alive with frequent posts. I’ve also attempted to avoid making this just another blog with short and meaningless posts by trying to provide well-written content which is accurate, informative and interesting. Additionally, I have tried to strike a good balance between humor and a few tongue-in-cheek “rants” while at the same time making it informative and of actual informational merit. I’ve worked toward an informal conversational style, which I hope will make for easy and enjoyable reading. Many of the posts also have a good deal of independent research and sources. The illustrations and graphics and charts which are shown in posts are often 100% original. Many of the other images have had to be edited, combined, captioned and so on. Many of the videos were also created, captured, edited, trans coded and uploaded especially for this site. And all the interface graphics are original as well.

In short, a fair amount of time and effort goes into this. Because of this, it’s just not possible for me to catch every spelling error which occurs. Obviously, a spellcheck is used, but it occasionally misses misspellings or they are just not noticed. And of course, a spellcheck is not as useful for misspellings which turn out to be other words entirely. Therefore, much as I try to keep things within reason, there will be misspellings from time to time (or a bit more often then that.) I’d simply ask that such errors be pointed out in a non-condescending way, and that the merit of the writing be judged on the content as opposed to how it is spelled. I’d like to think that the spelling is not so bad that nobody can even figure out what I am supposed to be saying.

I don’t generally gant a pass for stupidity. But I don’t think I need one either. Misspelling something is not equivalent to making a false assertion. The theme of this blog is to point out bad science, not bad spelling. If I did try to hold myself up as an example of good spelling, that would certainly be more than a bit hypocritical.

Oh and also, here’s an example of one of my worst spelling errors: � I once typed something about “OCEA regulations” completely misspelling OSHA. � And This is despite the fact that I was aware that stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. � But despite knowing the acronym somehow I managed to spell it like ocean.� Go figure.


This entry was posted on Sunday, November 4th, 2007 at 12:12 pm and is filed under Announcements, Education, Misc, Website. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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4 Responses to “In regards to my spelling”

  1. 1
    DV82XL Says:

    From a linguistic and historical standpoint, these “mistakes” are completely artificial, having very little to do with how English spelling actually developed historically, and having everything to do with egocentric control freaks trying to impose order on the language, which is damned near impossible because English is a dirty, sloppy, schizophrenic whore of a tongue.

    When someone must pick through another’s work to find minor errors of grammar and spelling they are demonstrating their inability to respond pertinently to the topic at hand.

    They have very little claim on intellectual superiority.


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  2. 2
    Kevin Says:

    As a regular reader, I can say that your posts are completely readable and most of the spelling errors that others are lambasting you on go unnoticed by me! Maybe they should try to see the content of the site instead of the syntax… the only thing I ever really notice is the occasional “its” vs. “it’s” mix-up, but that’s just because it’s a pet peeve of mine ;)

    You’re doing a great job with these posts; don’t take these petty grammar Nazis personally!


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  3. 3
    drbuzz0 Says:

    My grammar is actually spoken entirely correctly. And I do actually know the “its” vs. “It’s” It’s = “it is” and “its” means “belongs to it” or “of it”

    I’m not sure why I mess that up so badly all the time despite knowing it. I think deep down I really think “it’s” should be the way you say it. I’m sure there’s some grammatical reason why there should not be an atrophy but it sure as hell seems like it should have one.

    Also, I know lay from lie. And I think that grammar wise I should get special props for this one: http://depletedcranium.com/?p=175 Because I think most would miss it, and I went out of my way to point out the special case.

    But seriously, the spelling thing is just something that comes across as unprofessional. Hence, I try to do all things reasonable to catch it when I can, but I really hate it when someone refutes what I say by starting off picking a spelling error. That’s the only reason why I figured I ought to address it in a post, which I will now link back to when that happens again, which it will.


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  4. 4
    Larry Grimm Says:

    To quote someone famous (Patton?), “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” Look for those who are constructively critical, and just blow off the non-constructive. Your web site is great and your posts are quite good. You have a lot to be proud of with the way you get out there in your support of science.

    You might try typing your post in a word processing program with spell-check, then copy/paste to the web site. It’s what I do when I want a really clean post.


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