We’ve been having a debate, in one of my classes about, of all things, spell check and whether or not it’s “dumbing down” the country. My personal opinion……
Spell check is probably one of the best and worst inventions ever. Personally, I despise spell check. I’m a fairly decent speller and spell check always seems like an insult to me, especially when it tries to tell me I’m wrong. So, I go to a dictionary and, lo and behold, I’m right!
Occasionally it’s good because it can help you spell a word correctly. But the bad tends to outweigh the good in most cases. This was extremely evident in my class, and the prof was one of the prime offenders! Two out of the 4 questions that we’ve had to answer so far had used the wrong word in a sentence. And spell check said it was just fine.
When one of the other students asked her about it (I was too busy snickering), she admitted she’d used spell check and that she didn’t proof-read what she’d written! A true case of do as I say and not as I do!
I guess the debate was answered right there.
Spell check is a nice tool. It can tell you if the spelling of a word is wrong but it can’t tell you what tense to use. “Their or there” is a prime example….. “Weather, whether or wether”…….“Which and witch”….. “too, to and two”…… If YOU don’t know the correct word to use, how can you expect the machine to know what you’re trying to say or spell? It won’t tell you if you leave out an apostrophe in a contraction, either.
When my kids were in elementary school they had 3 teachers in a row who couldn’t spell and had terrible grammar. They were products of the spell check era and used it all the time both in, and after, college.
It got so bad that, when the kids were in first and second grades, and their teachers would send home notes on events, or notes of approval, I would read them and, if it was badly written or misspelled, I would send it back with corrections. I’m an old English major, I knows whereof I speaks!!!!!!
It wouldn’t have been so bad if it had been one teacher. But it was virtually every teacher both my kids had from 1st through 4th grades…..the most important part of their learning. They were all under the age of 30, and had trouble with spelling and sentence structure. To this day I don’t know how they managed to get out of college and pass any kind of certification. I ended up teaching both of my kids how to spell properly at home because they certainly weren’t learning it in school.
One teacher even went so far as to tell me that kids don’t need to know how to spell correctly because computers were everywhere and could handle it! I was outraged at such a ridiculous statement.
And, when you stop and think about it, employers don’t want employees who need to use spell check all the time. They want people who are capable of spelling, and being grammatically correct, all by themselves. In other words, intelligent, thinking people. It’s important in a law office, or doctor’s office, to know how to spell because a minimum of 50% of what you write ISN’T in spell check!
We are becoming a society too dependent on calculators, computers, and spell check instead of using our own minds and memories to help us work things out. They’re great tools, but I honestly believe you should be able to spell and make change in your head and not need a machine to do it for you.