A lesson in subtlety

“Are computers destroying our ability to write good English?” asks Robert Stacy McCain. This point seems inarguable:

Spelling is not a talent. Spelling is a skill. And skills that are not practiced have a way of atrophying. It is therefore obvious that the Spell-Check Age bodes ill for the future of good spelling.

Accordingly, he disdains the technology:

Screenshot with blatant spelling error

Of course, the Spectator, by no accident, has editors.



  1. Stuff Spell-Check Won’t Fix : The Other McCain »

    17 May 2011 · 6:22 pm

    […] The Dustbury-’Lanche! Category: […]

  2. unimpressed »

    17 May 2011 · 8:15 pm

    Someone over there thinks that spellcheck makes for better writers. I disagree. The garden-variety spellcheckers (the only kind I’ve ever used) don’t do a thing for context and without checking for context, the “writer” often has no clue which of the many homophones he/she has used are the wrong ones.

  3. Andrea Harris »

    18 May 2011 · 10:11 am

    I don’t trust spellcheck. It always misses something. Also, I’ve always been a very good speller — I usually go over things I’ve written myself to try to catch errors. I’ve seen them appear where spellcheck didn’t catch them.

  4. nightfly »

    18 May 2011 · 1:01 pm

    Hay! Four many off us, the spell cheque is grate!

  5. Charles Pergiel »

    19 May 2011 · 12:32 am

    I agree, spelling is a skill. It can be improved with practice. But talent also enters into this as well. Some people easily learn to spell words, others can have a heck of a time.

    I am a pretty good speller, but my vocabulary is bigger, so I end up making frequent spelling errors. Spell check allows me to appear at least semi-competent. Anytime I pull up an old post I invariably find missing or incorrect words.

    I remember once when I was in elementary school I forgot how to spell if and had to ask the other kids at my table how to spell it.

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