Knuckle created a plethora of painful memories for me.
Remember those elementary class competitions to see who had the knack of spelling? I was stung more than once at a spelling bee. My stomach knotted up over tricky words starting with a silent K. Even words with Os landed me in jeopardy. And I felt dumb over how subtle a B could be.
My father had a dad's sense of humour. He would test our psyches about the silent P in swimming. “Dad! There is no P in swimming.” My younger sister would give him the raspberry every time he repeated that joke.
Do you know in the English language more than 60% of the words have silent letters in them? As kids we had to knuckle down to become proficient at spelling. Now, we simply google.
Our responsibility as writers is not merely employing English correctly. It is using English to illuminate, inspire, and inform. I’m not suggesting writers shouldn’t care about spelling, especially in published pieces. However, good spellers don’t necessarily make great writers.
Have you heard the story of Gooch? He was a newly hired traveling salesman who sent his first sales report to the home office. The brass in the sales department were stunned because it was obvious that their new salesman was ignorant.
He wrote: “I seen this outfit which they ain’t never bot a dim’s worth of nothin from us and I sole them some goods. I’m now goin to Chicawgo.”
Before the man could be given his pink slip from the sales manager, along came a letter from Chicago: “I cum hear and sole them haff a millyon.”
Fearful if he did, and afraid if he didn’t fire Gooch, the sales manager dumped the problem in the lap of the president. The following morning, posted on the bulletin board above the two letters written by Gooch was a memo from the president:
“We ben spendin two much time trying to spel instead of trying to sel. Let’s watch those sails. I want everybody should read these letters from Gooch who is on the rode doin a grate job for us and you should go out and do like he done.”
Salespeople sell. Writers right. Write? Don’t knuckle under to shortcomings with silent Ks, Os, or Ps in your writing. Spell check can correct an inspiring piece of writing far better than inspire a piece of writing with good spelling.
What words might trip you up with their spelling?
“I don't see any use
in having a uniform and arbitrary way of spelling words. We might as well make
all clothes alike and cook all dishes alike. Sameness is tiresome; variety is
Lest we forget that Shakespeare spelled his surname in five different ways. None of them was S H A K E S P E A R E.
“A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one.”
Bob is serious about writing, but doesn't take himself seriously. He works hard at humour and sharing stories at REVWords.com