Teaching a large first-year course at a British university, I am fed up with correcting my students' atrocious spelling. Aren't we all!?Nope. It's hard enough to read some kinds of writing without trying to decipher the spelling. I'm not just talking about students, either. If you're the kind of person who sometimes reads comment threads at msnbc.com, consumerist, or the New York Times (yes, that would be me), don't you skip over the largely illiterate ones, the ones from people who can't spell, punctuate, or capitalize, let along make a logical point?
But why must we suffer? Instead of complaining about the state of the education system as we correct the same mistakes year after year, I've got a better idea. University teachers should simply accept as variant spelling those words our students most commonly misspell.
The spelling of the word "judgement", for example, is now widely accepted as a variant of "judgment", so why can't "truely" be accepted as a variant spelling of "truly"?
Someone should do--and probably has done--a study of this.
1. At what level of bad spelling/incoherent sentence structure/poor logic do readers stop reading, say, a comment thread? An email message? A blog post?
2. Do all readers stop reading these, or is it just that subset of humanity whose titles rhyme with Menglish Meachers?
3. Which of these annoys you most if you're reading online?