Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How well do you spell?

This is not a spelling bee competition invite. This is more of an opinion poll. Something I have been thinking about for a while and since my worst worries are being reconfirmed now by my fellow students and professors, it's high time we have a heart-to-heart on this.

I am a purist and a perfectionist when it comes to commas, hyphens, word order and, first and foremost, spelling. If you are producing a document that you are going to share with someone other than your mother, please make sure you proofread it and rid the text of any errors it might contain. I realize that minding your aposiopeses and chiasmi is maybe too much to be asking of, but basic grammar and correct spelling is a must. Or is it?

I was schooled in an old-fashioned way, when points were taken out in a Maths paper if you misspelt a word. Now that I am doing my MBA, professors preach that they do not care about grammar or spelling as long as the questions are answered and the points are addressed. I think that allowing this in an academic environment might send a message that back in the workplace it's even more OK. Am I being a pain in the neck going on about it? After all, nobody is shocked anymore at "donut", "thruput" or "cul8r". The question I am trying to contemplate is what a regular employee (let's assume, well-schooled) think of a boss who is struggling with the plain English language. I do not consider business English particularly creative or difficult - after you've come to terms with a few buzz words or phrases, you can be released into the wild without adult supervision. Still, I tend to get cross with people sending me e-mails or reports (or even worse - presentations) containing mistakes.

What's your take on this?

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