1. milove
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    milove Member

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    Do you belive speeling determains quality?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by milove, Jan 30, 2008.

    I will start this threed with a story....
    Once when I was a young middle school student, I sat in my beloved English class awaiting the results of my personal naritive. My heart pounded against my rib cage as my teachur placed my essay on my desk slowly. I was astounded. It read D. Waves of shock and self pitty splash on to me. My perfect streek of A's was over.
    Write at the botom of the finnal page, in red crusive, read a note of my teachur. "It was one of the best essays I have ever read, but your hand writing was bad and your spelling was horrid."

    I am one of the worse spellers I know and yet I continue to write despite ridcule. Do you belive my spelling habits will chaledge my future occupation? Do you belive that I should "give up"?

    PS... I didn't use speel check. I wanted to prove a point.
     
  2. Lawfire
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    Lawfire Member

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    Yes, very much so. Right, wrong, or indifferent...poor spelling is often associated with lower intelligence. It's obvious not always the case, but it is something you can work on.

    No, but a willingness to learn/change would go a long way.

    The point being...you can't spell?
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you are writing for yourself alone, spelling doesn't much matter. That may sound like a smartass response, but there are certainly many members who don't care about ever getting published.

    But for any serious writing for others to read, spelling is one of the important skills to develop. Spell-checking software helps, but it doesn't protect you from writing hear when mean here, or some where when you mean somewhere. Nor will good spelling alone make good writing.

    However, if you do wish to write for others to read, you should work on the spelling. It's not an insurmountable barrier - you can get there if you are determined to do so.

    So no, don't give up. Writing is a process of continual improvement, and spellingis just one of the frontiers for that improvement.
     
  4. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't really think you accidentally mispelt so many of those words in your post ...
     
  5. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    I don't pretend to make a career out of writing, but even so I believe that it's polite to at least check once or twice for spelling mistakes before posting. And even in my own career which has little to do with creative writing or other (graphic design), teachers have stressed us many times to have proper grammar, to the point of almost threatening us that it could cost us our job, and they're actually quite right.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That's a good point, Klee. Even if you don't make writing your career, many careers do require a fair amount of writing, and writing with clarity can make a significant difference in whether you advance to better positions.

    A large quantity of spelling errors can make an otherwise well written report nearly unreadable.
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    No matter how it's sliced, spelling is a component of writing. Fairly or unfairly, submitted manuscripts will be evaluated based upon (among other things) spelling. And it is a fairly obvious criteria--one that will stick out immediately to editors and agents--if spelling errors are frequent.

    One might consider correct spelling to writing as basic as accurate measurement is to carpentry. Both will strongly influence the end product of the labor.

    With the competition (the immense volume of manuscripts produced and submitted by writers) poor spelling as a component of submitted manuscripts could very well prove to be an impossible barrier to overcome--to get out of the slush pile, or to find representation.

    Is it fair? Publishing is a business. Fair isn't one of the big factors in determining what gets accepted vs. what doesn't.

    A key factor here, Milove, is that you've identified a weakness in your writing and are well aware of it. Thus, it is something you can work to improve and eliminate as a concern. Will it take you more time than other writers who don't struggle with spelling? Yes.

    We all come to this writing gig with different strengths and weaknesses, and have to play the game the best we can with the cards we're dealt.

    Others mentioned, for example, spell checkers--how they can help and their limitations. But there are dictionaries and learning to spell better, readers or crit partners who can help clean up a submission, even paying editor if it comes to that...or other options.

    Is it impossible to sell a manuscript rife with spelling errors? No. Does it decrease the odds of making a sale? Yes, and I'd venture to say in an unproven writer's career, dramatically.

    Terry
     
  8. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I don't think proper spelling determines quality. However, poor spelling can mask quality.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, but i think it's ridiculous to think poor spelling doesn't 'determine quality'... what else could it do?...

    if that were true, it would be like saying a building's 'quality' is ok, even though all the corners are skewed and floors are slanted in all directions, because if they weren't, the building would be beautiful and useful! ...
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Poor spelling can put an upper limit on quality. There are of course, several criteria for the quality of a piece, and the overall result will be no better than the lowest scoring of these criteria for a given piece.

    So poor spelling can determine the quality of a piece, unless other elements are even poorer. But good spelling cannot by itself determine the quality of the piece.
     
  11. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Try mispelling "resume" and see how far you get in a job search. Just kidding. Spelling is like grammar, which is like math. Everybody hates it (They are the creations of satan himself afterall, meant to torment us mortals into madness). But their still something you should learn whether you think its relevant or not.

    Just recently I heard of a college professor who wants to do away with teaching fractions. I hate fractions as much as the next guy but come on. Fractions are vital in mathmatics... wait were we talking about spelling? Same thing. Its a skill you should learn.
     
  12. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    What I was trying to say is that poor spelling is correctable. I work with writers as young as junior high age. They can be taught to spell properly. They can be taught to punctuate properly. They can be taught to structure a sentence properly.

    A mechanically perfect piece can still be gramatically-correct crap. A piece with spelling and grammar errors can have nuggets of gold hidden inside. The spelling and grammar can be corrected. Gaping plot holes, one-dimensional characters, expository lumps, unrealistic dialogue, and cliched settings are more difficult to deal with, and not everyone can see them.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As someone who strongly feels that math education in the US has grown unforgivably flabby, I would like to put that college professor on an unemployment line!

    The skills used in manipulating fractions are an essential component of algebra.

    And yes, Rose, that's the point I was making earlier. Spelling is only one component of good writing, but it's an important one.
     
  14. DavidGil
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    DavidGil Senior Member

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    You left out punctuation in the original post, but others have covered it. It's like what's been said, the actual plot and content of a work can be good even with bad spelling. But honestly, whose going to read a error filled work? Unless they want to try and help.

    Punctuation is as important as grammar. You know your faults and if you're serious about writing, you'll try to correct them. On that note, I believe there's a thread on this forum which pertains to dialog?

    A lot of people write dialog incorrectly from what I can see and it might be handy stickying it, if it isn't already. I also see a lot of critiques given out on here and on other forums, where people say the work is good but fail to point out the speech problems so it kinda goes unnoticed, then I come along and err... basically have the only negative comment.
     
  15. tonyshucraft
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    tonyshucraft New Member

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    Also, while good spelling doesn't come natural, it should feel natural as you go. Usually I tend to correct my words quickly and I usually don't notice much that I do it. Also I tend to go and edit my posts quite a bit.

    I guess my point is: when you get used to spelling correctly, you usually don' really think about it much, but you have a side effect of procastination sometimes.
     
  16. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    spelling punctuation and grammar are very important.
    If you don't care enough to spell correctly in a story my feeling is that I shouldn't bother reading it.
    Spelling is forgiven in school by lazy teachers but in the real world spell properly or get ignored.
     
  17. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Spelling itself does not determine the quality of writing on it's own; it is, however, a very important factor.
     
  18. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I think this pritty much summs it up.
    I was going to say the same thing.
     
  19. milove
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    milove Member

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    First off, I can't change my spelling problem due to slight dyslexia. Of course my work doesn't look as sloppy as my original posts. I use spell check, look it over 5 times, and I have my sister check it for me (she is a beautiful speller). Someone stated that I misspelled the words on purpose. That is very wrong, but I was writing very quickly so I may have misspelled words I usually don't. Thanks for the advice.
     
  20. milove
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    milove Member

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    You were talking about gramer and yet you have the incorect form of "have". It should be "The teacher has...". ;) Ironic, hu?
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i think you missed that klee only missed adding the 's' to 'teacher'... that's obvious, by later referring to them as plural, with 'they're'... but there are other grammar glitches in that excerpt you also missed, in your incorrect correction :)

    and it's 'grammar'... imo, there's no good excuse for misspelling that, since you can look it up before posting, right?...

    hugs, m
     
  22. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    mamma already pointed it out, I just misplaced the 's', thanks for noticing. I don't see a fault in occasional typos, everyone has them, what is annoying is when it's a consistently repeated mistake.
     
  23. (Mark)
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    (Mark) Contributing Member

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    Writing doesn't have to rigidly follow grammar and spelling rules in order to be good. If you can write something that flows well and is put together in a fashion that is still understandable, you're fine. Flowers for Algernon? Or Cormac McCarthy? He doesn't use quotation marks, and he tries his hardest to avoid using commas, but his writing is near perfect in my book.
     
  24. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There have been pieces which have deliberately broken rules of spelling and grammar. It's also very common to break them within dialog.

    However, in the vast majority of cases, incorrect spelling and grammar is simply horrid writing. To make the writing shine even when SPAG rules are violated requires considerable skill. In other words, you had better be able to write with nearly flawless spelling and grammar before even thinking of writing a substantial piece that cbreaks those rules.
     
  25. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    While I can't speak to Cormac McCarthy, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes...exactly why was the grammar and spelling so poor? Journaling by the mentally deficient main character, Charlie Gordon. One can note as the experiment takes place, and Gordon's intelligence increases...his writing (spelling for example) improves as well--and in reverse as it runs its course. Intentional misspellings were used as a device to tell the story. Keyes knew how to spell (and use grammar) properly, otherwise one of the most effective components of the story's structure and telling wouldn't have been effective.

    Thus, as Cogito wrote:
    I'd have to agree.

    Terry
     

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