I personally have a very low threshold for tolerating spelling and grammar mistakes. Recently, an acquaintance launched a blog – which I refuse to subject you to, that’s how much distress it caused me – and it got me thinking… how important, really, are grammar and spelling?
Most of my online reading happens on techie news sites like the register, which have an irreverent style and generally can spell fairly decently. If I’m looking for more business-related things, I will go to Harvard Business Review or The Economist. If I were earning a more competitive salary, I’d have an FT membership (good writing there!). I mostly avoid blogs – or read them with a cup of tea nearby to calm my nerves – because spelling mistakes and grammar errors make me cringe. It’s almost like physical pain, say being pelted with paper clips or sharp nails by a rabid squirrel. Only not as comical.
And so I ask you: How important are grammar and spelling to you?
If you’re reading a CV, an article, a blog post, how forgiving are you going to be if the author has made mistakes? Will you continue reading past one mistake? Two? Will you make it to the end of the article if every line has 4 mistakes making you want to poke your eyes out? How patient are we? In the day of information overload, do style and form still count? Or is “dass rly kewl man” an acceptable level of writing, if it means it’ll fit in 140 characters?
When is it that we morph from people who are in touch with today’s climate, to being uncool, older, pedantic, stuck in the past, and demanding? And is that who sets the standard these days? Older people with a linguistic complex? And if we all already have become linguistic bigots, demanding good spelling and grammar from advertisements on the tube and blog posts from strangers… when will it finally be ok to grouchily wave our walking sticks at people, or take out red markers to correct graffiti? Because for me, I can’t wait!