Spelling: Why does it bother some people?

I have a question about spelling and short hand spelling, like ppl instead of people…and stuff like that. I really dont see a problem with spelling errors unless they are completely wrong. This message board does’nt have an edit function anymore and sometimes ppl dont notice when they make a mistake until its to late. Maybe the posts that they are writing is important to them and they want to get it out there as soon as possible and they do not remember to spell check. I’m not the best typer in the world either. [ul]
[li]Why do u have a problem with spelling mistakes?[/li][li]Why do u have a problem with shortened words?[/li][/ul]

:confused: Just thought i’d ask, because it reallly does’nt matter to me unless its so bad that i dont get the persons point.

The only thing i really have against using words like “ppl” and “u” and things like leaving apostrophes out of contractions is that if you get accustumed to it, you’ll start to do it when it’s not appropriate. I had this problem years back in high school. it really, really pissed me off. I’d have to keep going back to correct myself. Maybe i just spent too much time on my computer, but don’t we all?
I know there are a lot of people out there who really hate it though. If you ask me, they’re just anal or obsessive compulsive. Some people even go as far as to capitalize the first letter of and put a period after every single sentence or even sentence fragment they type when chatting. This actually annoys me a hell lot more than when people misspell or use shorter versions of words. To me, it seems like they think their shit don’t stink.

It doesn’t bother me too terribly much, but if there’s a lot of shorthand or a lot of errors, it definitely slows down comprehension and becomes painful to read. Capitalization also does the same for me. It breaks up sentences and speeds up comprehension. If you don’t capitalize, it doesn’t really grate on my nerves, but it is nicer if you do.

Yeah, in the end it’s the difference of a couple of seconds, but proper spelling, capitalization and grammar do help in comprehension and communication, and making life that much easier for the reader.

after reading my post, i thought i should add that it doesn’t bother me when people capitalize and use periods in paragraphs or long sentences. actually, i think they’re pretty damn important here. commas and other punctuation also. The things that make me think they think their shit don’t stink is when they respond like “Yes.” and “I do.” and the like. It’s just not necessary at all.

It’s not a major deal, but it does irritate me because it implies a lack of care or a general laziness, which detracts from the actual point you’re making. Sometimes this might be justified, particularly if your communication style makes it (even a little bit) harder for others to understand the point you make, although of course it’s often not justified.

As wrong as it is, people always have and always will partly judge the validity of what you say based on the way you say it and on the way you present it. That doesn’t mean you should always bend to meet others’ expectations, but in the real world if you expect to be taken seriously there’s always an element of give and take.

I would hazard a guess that if people are objecting to it, then it is being used in an inappropriate place.

I’m sure we can all agree that it’s ok to write “ppl” in an informal note to a friend or yourself, and that it isn’t ok to write “ppl” in a business letter, so there’s an example of appropriate and inappropriate places of use. Many other places aren’t as black and white. If people are objecting, then it’s a fair bet that the unwritten rules of the place say that abbreviations of that nature aren’t encouraged, and therefore it’s an inappropriate place to use them.

And I find “u” for “you” to be annoying, disrespectful and illiterate. I don’t like it at any time, but will put up with it only in SMS messages. I know they’re harder to write out and have limited space. I can’t think of any other fora that I use where space is limited or letters are hard to cycle through to reach the correct characters, so I can’t think of any other places where I will not mind seeing that abbreviation.

Somehow, I have a talent for spotting grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. They stick out like sore thumbs to me, like my brain’s screaming out an alarm every time I see one. With too many errors, my brain goes into overload and my head explodes.
Figuratively. :smiley: But it is annoying after a while.

I feel the same way about ‘u’ - it’s not that much faster to type than ‘you’, and the word is not hard to spell. Same with abbreviations like ‘ne1’ (anyone), ‘thx’ (thanks), and so on. I especially dislike it when someone’s using these abbreviations to ask me a favor, like during online games, and when they abbreviate please as ‘plz’ or worse, ‘plzzzzz’. If you’re going to impose on someone else’s time/effort/etc., at least do them the courtesy of spelling out your request in properly-spelled English. In a computer game, ‘buffs plz’ carries a much more uncaring and inconsiderate connotation than, ‘Could you buff me please?’ (‘buff’ meaning ‘cast some beneficial spells on me’.)

It doesn’t bother me as much as I feel it reflects the personality of the individual trying to communicate. I feel that spelling, capitalization, syntax and grammar (among other things) usually are representative of an individual’s level of education and knowledge in general. In relation to this, I usually find that I am more interested in reading what an educated, knowledgeable person has to say rather than an individual who is not discplined enough to do such a minor mental activity as look up the spelling of a word.

In other words, why should I think a person who doesn’t know how to spell Bosnia or write a literate sentence about it would have an intelligent comment about it?

I have to admit, I’m one of the anal spelling-and-grammar geeks.

It just gives your post a little more clarity if you spell words correctly and use proper punctuation.
When I am reading through a thread and I come across a post with no punctuation and weird spellings, like “kewl” and “ppl,” I tend to skip right over it and go on to the next one.
I especially hate when there are no paragraph breaks and no capitalization.

You can tell when it’s a typo. I know I make typos. I usually type “the” as “hte.” Typos are no big deal.

And on a board like this, what are we fighting? Oh, yeah, ignorance.
If you’re in GD or GQ, and you’re defending your point of view or answering a question, you have a lot more credibility if you can spell your answer correctly.
(obsessively reading through, knowing I’ve made an error. What’s that law?)

Proper spelling and punctuation make it easier for the reader to comprehend your message. It also tells the reader that you care enough about them to try to “do it right.”
If you don’t care enough about your message to write it properly, why should I care enough to read it? Besides, the stated purpose of the SDMB is fighting ignorance. Hard to do that if laziness is encouraged through acceptance of intentional spelling and punctuation errors.
The “culture” of this place demands at least an honest effort to do things the proper way. Here, intentional shortcuts will get you stoned, or brought before a firing squad in due time.
Of course, this discussion is not about the odd error, which I am now bound to have in this post somewhere.

Not so much that you’d notice though eh? :wink:


I make my share of typographical errors and spelling mistakes on these boards, so I ought to be tolerant of other people's. I agree with those that have said the context matters - after all, what kind of person would put a semicolon in a love letter?  But it's as easy to type a three-letter word in full as it is to type only one letter - anything else just makes you seem lazy to me.

Too many errors also raises the suspicion that you're poorly-educated and that you may not know what you're talking about. Perhaps that's unfair?

I'd regret giving offence to a stranger on these boards without good reason, and it's especially important to avoid slamming a poster's spelling errors when they're using in their second language (which happens all the time). But the OP is *so* full of mistakes that I would find it hard to take seriously if I saw it in another thread.

For example:

... spelling errors unless they are completely wrong. How can a spelling error be *in*completely wrong? It's either wrong or it's right.
Maybe the posts that they are writing is important to them and they want to get it out there as soon as possible and they do not remember to spell check. Posts *are* or post *is*? A spell check wouldn't have helped here and it undermines confidence in your point.
I'm not the best typer in the world either. Some typos are obvious slips of the finger - anyone who doesn't make allowance for that is a jerk, so you should take no notice of them.

I hope that doesn't seem to harsh - it's just meant to illustrate a point, not to insult you. You're entitled to be upset with somebody who's making fun of your spelling to insult you, but my guess is that a person will be taken more seriously if his/her posts show a basic command of written English.

It's also a tradition here that if you start slamming someone's spelling you're bound to make some mistakes of your own, so I'm expecting someone to point out mine any time now.

Just keep your there, their and they’res straight. Not to mention your your and you’res

Hear hear! (NOT “here, here.”)

My shit might stink but not as bad as ur’s.:stuck_out_tongue:

And it’s typist not typer.

the Grammar Police

Well, sure it’s unfair. Then again, so is life. However, this particular area of life’s unfairness can be reliably avoided with only a mild amount of habitual care.

But all in all, I think people should pretty much spell (or not) as they prefer to. Others will budget their reading time appropriately. People make their choices and take the consequences.

Spelling errors made due to bad typing don’t bother me. Spelling errors made because one has never taken the time to learn the correct spelling bother me a lot. I don’t know why. It just makes me want to scream every time I see someone use “loose” for “lose”. Please learn the difference between “to”, “too”, and “two”, too.

I often skip posts with bad spelling, extremely poor grammar, or one that is not capitalized correctly, since they are just too much of a pain in the ass to read. If someone doesn’t make a minimal attempt to make themselves understood, I’m not going to spend the time to try and decode the post.

Online we have one thing and one thing only with which to judge you: your words.
If you show up for an interview in a Hawaiian t-shirt, the HR director is going to say “thank you. Next candidate, please.”
If I open up a thread where people can’t even bother to push the shift key for the letter i, people are going to say “Thank you. next thread, please.”
It’s all about how you present yourself to your audience.

Proper capitalization and punctuation also help those readers (me) who have very poor eyesight (me) even w/the browser window set to largest print size (me).

splitting off into different paragraphs help (me) too. :smiley:

WRT shortening words and so on. It can become distracting if I have to mentally translate everything. Typo’s happen (and sometimes, I can’t always discern the difference between an e and an o or an a, so I don’t always catch those).

Face it, this is a message board - not a conversation. We have to attempt to communicate via the printed word, and if your method enhances the communication process, than it succeeds. If your method detracts from your message, it will not.

In Real Life, one of my tasks at work is to teach people to fill out job applications correctly. I often hear the same sort of thing from them “why is spelling important - isn’t it enough that they can sorta tell what I’m saying, and that I have the skills”.

and the answer is ‘no, it isn’t enough’.

examples of people who didn’t get interviews include:

“Here what I know”.


“I can fix vcares” (vcrs)


In the outside world, when applying for a job most people take a lot of care to ensure that their CV/resume is correct and well-presented. Since there are a lot of other people with decent skills competing for most jobs, that little extra effort may be the differentiating factor.

The same is true online. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone thinks their own opinion is worth listening to. Proper spelling, grammar and punctuation may be the differentiating factors that get your post noticed in the absence of people actually knowing you or having experience of your past posts.