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Is it just me, or are people now days not able to spell very well? Is it because we are all typing so quickly or just a lack of proper education? It's hard to blame it on keyboards when the words that are misspelled have corresponding letters that aren't anywhere near each other on a standard keyboard in the first place.

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Depending the case a bit of column A and a bit of column B.

I lately type more in my cellphone and to make things easier for my fat fingers I choose the old school layout for mobiles with the ability to make up my words by pressing each key once, however sometimes this leads to mistakes for example typing 'loud' instead of 'love', if less lucky it just come like gibberish.

Other times I could be typing by the sound and get the word wrong because I am in a hurry or because I am translating from Spanish to English and say for example 'involucrate' instead of 'involve'. I am thankful for the browser dictionaries that help me a lot to highlight this kind of mistypes.

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It definitely has to do with typing on keypads. I make mistakes myself when typing quickly and don't have the time to stop to check what I happen to be typing at the time. I once typed "Good Night" in a message sent to a friend and carelessly misspelled the last two letters in "Night". The spell check automatically selected "Niger" in place of "Night"! I had sent her "Good Niger", instead of the intended "Good Night!".

I also notice this is French messages as well. It seems French people are becoming increasingly lazy and "misspell" (whether intentionally or not) the various forms of the French "passé composé" and even merge it with the "imparfait" so you have "je parlé" rather than "je parlais". It probably takes fewer keystrokes to type "parlé" than "parlais". Laziness (or the need to type long messages in a relatively short time) does play a part in this case.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with all of the above. I also think there are still a lot of people out there that do not realize there are often two different ways to spell a word correctly. For example the word "through" is spelled just like that in most the commonwealth countries while the Americans spell the same word "thru".

If you are concerned about the "ou"s showing up in a whole bunch of places that you think should either just be the "o" or the "u", you are probably reading a writing from someone raised Canada, the British Isles or Australia. I am Canadian, and have a bit of a problem conforming with the American way of spelling at times.

So, sometimes it is just a different and correct way of spelling the same word.

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For example the word "through" is spelled just like that in most the commonwealth countries while the Americans spell the same word "thru".

I've heard many non-Americans say this. Correct me if I'm wrong, but "through" is still the preferred spelling, especially in formal contexts, in the United States. It's not equivalent to, say, colour vs color. I've only rarely seen anyone write the word as "thru" here unless

[list type=decimal]

[*]It's a road sign (which are commonly abbreviated)

[*]It's part of an advertisement (known for their oh-so-hip vocab ;-) )

[*]it's part of a text message (again, commonly abbreviated)

As for people not spelling very well nowadays, I think it's a combination of several issues. First, people have never been very good spellers. I've seen some very poorly spelled letters from a couple of generations ago. It's only now that more and more people are communicating via writing that we start noticing it. While most of what we read before was written either by professional writers or journalists, now anyone can get online and communicate (and that's a wonderful thing).

Another thing to take into account is you never know how old the writer is. I've seen older people, great spellers and writers, struggle with a keyboard and finally give up trying to correct all their typing mistakes. The opposite is also true: children with poor spelling but great typing skills.

Another point is foreign speakers. I know that when I try to write in another language, I can read over my sentences carefully but the errors will simply not pop out at me.

Let's not forget people with dyslexia either. While I don't have dyslexia, I have the wonderful habit of checking my writing and seeing what I meant to write, rather than what I actually wrote.

People are complex, and I certainly won't judge a person for their spelling. Glass houses and all that!

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It may be true that people have been somewhat desensitized by "txt tlk" and other shorthand, but I know that it's not as big a problem as some make it out to be.

Some people are just not so great at spelling to start with. I chuckled when I passed by this building that had a printed banner reading, "CAR'S UNDER $10,000". People in my class make typos quite often and don't realize it. I've seen people misspell "lose" as "loose", among other mistakes that make me wonder how the person didn't catch them. I also still don't get how people get "your" and "you're" wrong.

Even on my first cell phone with the 0-9 keypad, I typed with proper capitalization and punctuation. It wasn't that hard for me, because I was able to type it at a decent speed. It became much easier when I got a messaging-oriented phone with a QWERTY keyboard. Last Christmas, I got a Samsung Galaxy S3, and I'm a speed demon on that. I even have autocorrect disabled, because I got used to touchscreen typing with my iPod Touch a while back. I still make the occasional mistake, but I go back and correct it rather quickly. Even though texting is easier and faster than ever, or even with a QWERTY keyboard on a computer, people still opt to use shorthand, and sometimes even leave mistakes in, then say something like "omg who cares? your annoying". Some people just don't realize the importance of spelling, or how much more serious, intelligent, and (if applicable) professional they appear with proper capitalization, punctuation, and grammar.

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Whoa Baby... don't get me going about apostrophe s's. Okay folks it is either possessive like "That iPad is Karen's." or it is a contraction (It is = It's). Let us just get that straight on the get go, so those of you who are learning English can follow that simple rule.

Where the placing of the apostrophe becomes more challenging, is when the possessive is combined with a plural. For example if there is only one girl we are talking about the sentence would be something like "Put that in the girl's room." If there are two girls who live in the room, the sentence would read "Put that in the girls' room."

I think the most misused 's (and it is one of my pet peeves) is when someone is trying to apply it to an hyphenated situation. For example: "That is my sister-in-law's" is the possessive form, and "The sisters-in-law filed a civil suit for the loss of their nephew." You don't pluralize the final word in the hyphenate, you pluralize the the noun!

I see way too many 's where they simply do not belong. And, as an afterthought, PLEASE STOP SAYING "IRREGARDLESS" (Yes, Anderson Cooper, you even said it the other night!) THERE IS NO SUCH WORD!

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Internet speak (like using words like 'thru' and 'watever') has definitely invaded the way we speak off the  internet at this point. I'm a little torn about how I feel about it...I mean, so long as communication is occurring in a natural and uninhibited way we should be satisfied...but on the other hand, it does feel a little like we are condoning less than par effort in learning the language.

I haven't really noticed this kind of thing having an effect on people being able to understand correct spellings and syntax though. Like I don't see anyone who commonly uses acronyms and internet speak struggling with Twain or Orwell directly because of this. Has anyone else seen this? it would be interesting to investigate the effects of mass communication on our understanding of 'formal' language.

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I think the real problem is most people don't care. 

A lot of people have seen the demonstration of how spelling has little impact on the reader understanding the message.  It goes something like this:

"I cnduo't bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too."

The problem is that even though a lot of the stuff people type is readable, it makes the writer look like a fool.  But what is worse, there is a trend forming that people who take the time to write properly are being looked down as snobby, old fashioned or irrelevant.  I mean, even our President starts his weekly address on Youtube with "Hi everybody."  Not very presidential if you ask me.

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I definitely notice this more and more. Internet / Twitter / text message language seems to have eroded the fundamentals of good spelling and proper grammar. It seems now that the best spelling is that which could easily get your message across with the minimum number of keystrokes!

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In this day and age, spelling is less of a necessity. With the internet and spell checks, kids learn they don't need to spell anything right, the computer will fix it for them. So I feel there should be a heavier emphasis on language learning as well as spelling. All I see on kid's papers are "u" and "4" in replacement for actual words. It's kind of sad in my opinion.

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The digital age is ruining the elegance and beauty of written language. Even in French, people often type "parlé" to mean "parler, parlé, parlés, parlée, parlées, parlait, parlaient"! They all have the same pronunciation but different spellings, so why not condense it all to make it faster and more convenient to type on a keyboard or keypad!

The worst case I know of was an American guy who would write "n" to mean "and" and "in"so he would send me emails like, "John n I wanted to go n see the boss. But he wasn't n". This carried over to his writing as well!

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There are a lot of people who seem very poor at spelling.  I do blame technology for this one.  People are often typing on computers and other electronics from a young age.  The programs correct their spelling errors.  Individuals do not need to pay as much attention to their spelling when typing it out.  Therefore, they forget how to spell when writing.

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SO TRUE! I personally make it a point to use proper spelling and sentence construction when I communicate through computers or mobile phones. Though I can decipher some of the weird spelling I see used now a days, It's really frustrating to read, especially when it comes to texting.

I can only see two roots to this problem. Its either people don't know how to spell or people are too lazy to spell, perhaps a combination of both.

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I think the Internet has caused this phenomenon.  Twitter, texting and facebook all encourage the use of short words with few characters.  The result is pathetic abbreviations with a high amount of misspellings. 

My pet peeves are "their" "they're" and "there" and "it's" versus "its".  Really though, there are a million more common spelling errors.  Part of the problem is reliance on spell check.  And the fact that hardly anyone reads anymore.

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  • 3 weeks later...

SO TRUE! I personally make it a point to use proper spelling and sentence construction when I communicate through computers or mobile phones. Though I can decipher some of the weird spelling I see used now a days, It's really frustrating to read, especially when it comes to texting.

I can only see two roots to this problem. Its either people don't know how to spell or people are too lazy to spell, perhaps a combination of both.

I agree with this, sometimes people write the short version because they are not really sure about the spelling, there are times that they are to lazy to write the word, especially if the words are long. But then there are also some cases wherein without realizing, they are writing the short version because they are used to it. Even if they really know the right spelling of the word.

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Spelling is not as important as the spoken word, so unfortunately the appearance of words will often take a back seat when it's a word that people haven't seen often. I feel it's only become apparent in the more recent generations, where everyone is communicating on a keyboard or keypad of some sort.

On a side note, it intrigues me when I see that people use "defiantly" in place of "definitely". It's a strange phenomenon, it's spelled as a completely different word and the phonetics don't even remotely match. Don't ask any of my friends how to spell "psychic", you will end up with the biggest butchering of the word possible.

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I've noticed that about "defiantly" too.  And "rediculous" for "ridiculous".  There are so many others, too.  It is rather pathetic.  Most of today's kids are not voracious readers.  Neither are their parents. 

Does anyone else feel like they are living in the movie "Idiocracy"?  Too many poor and ignorant people are breeding.  They don't have the tools to teach/fund their kids.  Humanity needs its re-set button hit.

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I've noticed that about "defiantly" too.  And "rediculous" for "ridiculous".  There are so many others, too.  It is rather pathetic.  Most of today's kids are not voracious readers.  Neither are their parents. 

Does anyone else feel like they are living in the movie "Idiocracy"?  Too many poor and ignorant people are breeding.  They don't have the tools to teach/fund their kids.  Humanity needs its re-set button hit.

Yes, I've seen those and many other errors in spelling.  It is curious that people confuse "definitely" with "defiantly" which are two different words with two different meanings, as thekernel pointed out.

Another one I see often is "perogative" instead of "prerogative."

People have mentioned many other examples on this thread that I have also noticed. 

Sayitwell, I think the erosion of standards in language use -- vocabulary, spelling and grammar -- is pervasive.  I think some of it may be due to the influence of texting, social media and the Internet and the reliance on spell checkers. 

In the U.S., where I live, I think that education standards are not what they once were.  Students are not learning these basic skills.  Overall, expectations of proper grammar and spelling don't appear to be as high as they once were.  So people are getting accustomed to just getting by.  Plus, they see these common errors so frequently they probably don't even recognize them as such. 

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Proper spelling as been reduce to IM speech and unfortunately grammar is not always at the forefront when conversing with each other. However, there are some people with genuine grammar and spelling problems.

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Laura,

I feel the same way about schools failing kids.  I went to public school all the way up until college and we weren't even taught proper sentence structure and grammar until the 11th grade.  The teacher admitted that it was a mistake to wait so long to implement an English Composition class.  If I ever have kids I will seriously consider home schooling them.

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I certainly agree that spelling is going downhill these days. People now use abbreviations more and shortening of words. This is thanks to text messaging, internet messaging and so on. It is a quick and speedy way to keep in touch. People use this method that often that when they need to use the correct format, they can get a little confused.

We also receive help too quickly with our spellings without having to work it out ourselves (predictive text, spell checker).

I admit, I used to be top of the class for spelling all of the 'big' words, but these days even I have to think about some spellings sometimes due to all of this helpful technology!

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One thing is spelling properly and another typing properly.

Many people can spell the words they are typing, but they cannot type correctly. Most people do it "at two fingers" rather that using all the fingers of both hands like typist do it.

However not everybody is a typist and, in the rush to type something, they may easily go wrong with spelling.

Even myself (being a former typist) make typos from time to time that seems like if I wouldn't know how to spell a word.

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I don't think I would blame the digital age for making us lazy to mind our spellings. I think we're just more aware of our failings because everyone posts in the internet. Think about it, the spelling standards are relatively new to our history (http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Histengl/spelling.html).

That said, people should use the red squiggly lines under misspelled words.

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