A minor point this, in the grand scale of Things That Piss You Off. However it is something we can do something about. Which, to my mind, makes it worth mentioning.

If you can’t spell a word, then please take the five seconds involved to load up your word processor of choice, type the word in order to spellcheck it and then cut and paste the correct version back into your browser. Alternatively you might like to avail yourself of a dictionary.

By typing “(sp?)” after the incorrectly spelled word, you are informing the world that you know that the word is spelled incorrectly, but that you do not value your readers enough to find out the true spelling. This is rude. Not very rude. Not slap-in-the-face-with-a-glove rude. But rude nonetheless.

Misspellings due to oversight, typos or ignorance I can deal with. I can even deal with “(sp?)” written after a proper noun that is not easy to verify (although being the anal type myself I prefer to check even those via google or somesuch). But there really is no excuse for being too lazy to spellcheck a normal everyday word that you know is not spelled correctly.

Thankyou for your attention.


[sub]Disclaimer: I hereby pre-emptively invoke Gaudere’s Law, even though this is not strictly speaking a correction of people’s spelling or grammar per se.[/sub]

I disagree. Many’s the time I’ve been in a discussion of Lovecraft’s work and tried to spell the names in his unholy beastiary: YOU try spelling Cthulhu, L’mur-Kathulos ,Nyarlathotep and so forth without using (sp?) from time to time. Any sufficently advanced discussion of Elder Things certainly permits the useage of (sp).

Oh…you meant words like thier(sp), helo(sp) and so on? Nevermind. Carry on.


umm, no, Fenris, I think she meant things like aeleron (sp?), Constantinopal (hi, opal) (sp?), and subterranean (sp?). The idea being, words that are in your basic dictionary. With the exception of Jane’s Guide of Elder Things, the spellings of the names you mentioned are not likely available to your typical doper without an online search.

I ran the following words and phrases from the OP through my computer’s Word spell check and got the following objections:






Thank you for your attention (fragmented sentence)


Guardere’s (well give you a pass on this one)


Not very rude. (fragmented sentance)

A minor point this

You (seemed to not like Things That Piss You Off)

I thnik yuo nede to chil outt.

I was kidding, but I love the phrase “Jane’s Guide to Elder Things”, and if I did sigs, I’d ask to use it.


That’s not necessarily true. When I use (sp?) I’m saying “I don’t know if this is spelled correctly or not, and it isn’t important enough to this to find out.” Some examples of where I use this: AIM conversations, mIRC, MPSIMS threads.

Typing (sp), in my experience, says that you know the word is spelled incorrectly, and don’t care. And for what it’s worth, I’d rather someone know than not. I suspect this boils down to personal opinion.

[sub]And there are some words which, let’s face it, aren’t going to be in your ordinary dictionary.[/sub]

Jane’s Guide is over-rated. A true eldritch abomination enthusiast always relies on S. Petersen’s Field Guides. I have both Dreamlands and Cthulhu Mythos. Nothing makes it easier to tell your Elder Things from your Formless Spawn. Even comes with a handy spotter’s guide. “Question One: Is it invisible? If yes, go to 2. If no, go to 3.” It’s printed in full color, er, I mean colour, and is full of lovely illustrations. Well, not lovely so much as “horribly non-euclidian,” but you get my drift.

PS When I was considering my recent name change, I flirted with the name “The Fungi from Yuggoth.” (and, in a moment of terrible darkness, "The Fun Guy from Yuggoth. Luckily, a good friend was there to beat we with a jack handle when I mentioned it.) I decided against it because it was a little too “fanboy.” After this post, I think it’s clearly a moot point.

Well, firstly, I have to vote on the side of Tobin’s Spirit Guide. It’s a bit old, but, really, if you want a quick spotter’s book, can’t go wrong.
Secondly, I believe that a (sp) is rather required in discussing the Great Old Ones. Otherwise, interesting things may happen when you… open… a… web… oh, my good Discordia.
I think this explains why H*stur has become so odd…

Someday Hastur is going to accidentally triple-post, and the last we’ll hear is his fading scream as he’s carried away by Nightgaunts.

When I post on this or any MB I try really, really hard to not use “(SP?)”. But I don’t think it’s a big deal when using email, AIM, or ICQ. I’m not going to load up m-w.com, and try to find the right word when I’m just trying to write a quick response that will be read in seconds and forgotten within minutes.

I don’t usually use {sp?} but when I do I’m making a comment on my own laziness and also trying to show that I’m not as stupid as I seem.

I’m not telling the reader I don’t value him or her. What I’m really saying “I’m not as stupid as I seem. I’m either too lazy or in too much of a rush to spellcheck this – you all know what I mean.”

Why would a reader feel insulted because the writer is too lazy too spellcheck a word?

All hail Shub-Niggurath! (sp?)

Just to clear a few things up and to reiterate others:[list=1][li]I was specifically referring to message board posts. Obviously when chatting you don’t have the time to spellcheck![/li]
[li]Vinnie - I specifically said that I’m referring to when people know (or strongly suspect) that they’ve made a mistake. Suspect enough to warrant “(sp?)”. Clearly there’s no suggestion there that people should run each and every message of theirs through a grammar and spell check. Just check the bloody word that you know is suspect! (Incidentally, there’s nothing wrong with the spelling of any of the words you picked out. In particular, you must have an American spellchecker if it doesn’t like “Thankyou”).[/li]
[li]'punha - I don’t know about you, but if I realise that I don’t know how a word is spelled, I like to correct that gap in my knowledge. Particularly when it is a word that I like well enough to want to use in my written communication. Consider that by inserting “(sp)”, you’re missing the chance to better yourself. Or something.[/li]
[li]Fenris, I realise, understands that I’m referring to common everyday dictionary words and not names of demons etc. I’d like to make this point again however, just to be on the safe side.[/li]
[li]this particular kabbes is a he. Or an it.[/list=1]That’s all. You may go about your everyday business once again.[/li]

This is about me, isn’t it?

Oh, God. I am so embarassed!

::slinks away::

I’m with kabbes. Couldn’t say why. I don’t think it’s rude or insulting to the reader-- it just ticks me off. I dunno. I guess it’s a matter of principle, more or less. It seems to me like if you know you’re spelling a word wrong, then why not spell it right? But then, I’m a natural speller so I don’t typically have that problem, hey.

Yes! I now have… a FOLLOWER! Huzzah.

Anyone else? Join now and get half a used matchstick, a broken mouse and a glimpse of my 1953 dictionary with the amusing definition of the word “muff”.

(Spooje - actually I don’t recall you using the aforementioned parentheses, two letters and question mark. And believe me - this really isn’t about anybody in particular. You all suck equally. Except White Lightning.)


Yeah but some of them suck more equally than others, right?

(Oh, how many turns this thread could take. I can’t wait.)

Now, I’ve owned cats before, and grew up in an oldish farmhouse where the SNAP SNAP SNAP of traps was a common sound in the warmer nights. Broken mice just aren’t that appealing.

That notwithstanding, (sp?) makes the user look like a doof every time they use it. I myself will often be too lazy when writing informally to check a word’s spelling I’m not 100% on, but simply tend to blaze on ahead in blithe confidence. Damn the transposed letters, full word ahead!

I’m with you kabbes. How hard is it to spellcheck? I don’t find it insulting personally, but it does convey laziness in the poster. I don’t want anyone to know how lazy I am in real life!

I am pretty much with kabbes on this one. Somehow, a badly spelled word in the midst of a good piece of writing irritates me.

But my sympathies lie with those people who are keyboard dyslexic like me. I often leave out prepositions and mistype common words such as “wrod” and more often than not type from as form; and it never gets picked up by any spell check.

BTW, this my 3rd post in about a year that I have been an ardent reader…